Last week’s expose on television’s “Extra: The Entertainment Magazine” revealed that several high profile health-oriented energy bar manufacturers are misleading consumers with false nutritional labeling.

“Extra” worked with food scientist Marvin Winston to test the actual amount of fat present in ten different energy bars compared to the amount reported in each bar’s ingredient label. The results: Winston discovered inaccuracies in bars from manufacturers Clif, Met-Rx and Kashi. In each case, the bar’s fat content is significantly higher than what consumers read on the wrapper.

“Extra’s” food scientist isn’t the only one to recently discover false claims, and fat is not the only area for nutritional content mislabeling. Studies conducted by two independent laboratories and funded by PowerBar Inc. revealed that the carbohydrate levels listed on the nutritional labels of several top-selling protein bars were egregiously inaccurate. Studies have also shown that these top protein bars are being manufactured with incomplete proteins and are misrepresenting the percent Daily Value of protein contained in the bar.

“As more and more people are seeking convenient nutrition, energy bars are no longer ‘just for athletes,”‘ said PowerBar General Manager Cindy Vallar. “With over one hundred bar manufacturers currently competing for market share in the category, it is crucial that we remain true to the integrity of the product we put on shelves for consumers. The mislabeling of bars by numerous manufacturers is creating a negative impact on the entire category.”

The Food and Drug Administration along with top retailers are aware of these mislabeling issues and, sources say, plan to enforce accurate labeling in 2001.

PowerBar created the energy bar over fifteen years ago in an effort to supply athletes with a convenient, nutritional and easily digestible food source. Today, it continues to lead the estimated $520 million category it created and upholds all labeling regulations (source: SPINS/IRI.)

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