Call me naive, but I never thought to question the nutritional information on my food. However, I noticed a recent firestorm of publicity centered on the fact that many companies are messing up (or out-right lying) on their nutritional information.
Reports from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), watchdog groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)… even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chimed in on the problem of false labeling.
While they note that the FDA does allow for some variance in food labeling, the number and degree of incorrect labeling is an obvious problem. So, what to do?
The FDA says it is studying the problem and is looking for ways to ensure more accurate labels. Some changes that we can expect better testing and oversight as well as a new emphasis on insuring the "serving-size" used to measure the recommended daily values are closer to what a reasonable adult would actually eat.
However, the onus is not completely on the regulators. They point out that the nutritional facts tell consumers what went into making the product, but that is not necessarily what we bite into. Changes in the make-up of foods can be caused by time, temperature, method of preparation.
I hope the FDA can come up with better methods to ensure accuracy and stronger ways to enforce these regulations. But, ultimately, we consumers have to use our own brains to decide if the label information seems accurate and determine if it is still valid; and to determine if the serving size is realistic.
Or, we could all buy a nice chemistry set and start taking classes on how to determine the values ourselves!