Food Labeling Misconception #4: Healthy Claims

Although food labels are meant to accurately tell us what’s in the package we’re buying, marketers have devised a clever little system to make foods sound more healthful than they really are.  More specifically, a food item can claim any number of vague health statements that may or may not be scientifically valid.  There’s been a recent trend in products suggesting that they can boost immunity or defend against illness – but there’s typically little or no evidence backing up such claims.  This rather large white lie is permitted because of the lack of regulation regarding labeling rules.  If you claim a product “maintains” or “supports” functioning (such as cholesterol levels, immunity, or blood pressure) instead of explicitly stating that it can treat or prevent a condition, manufacturers don’t have to provide any proof.  For example, a product can state it “supports a healthy heart” or “maintains cholesterol levels” without any question from the FDA, but you cannot state a product “reduces the risk of cancer” without the approval of regulators.  As a result, claims that use this type of tricky language are generally ignored.  Moral of the story: buyer beware of words such as maintain and support.

A few of the offenders whose claims could very well be true or untrue:

You get the idea….



13 thoughts on “Food Labeling Misconception #4: Healthy Claims

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