I’m ending the week with two related news items highlighting how Big Food makes it difficult for even well-intentioned parents to make sound food choices for their children:
First, a new report released this week by the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity finds that parents often mistakenly believe that some sugary drinks, such as Vitamin Water, Capri Sun and Sunny D, are actually healthy choices for their children, despite the fact that such drinks contribute to childhood obesity. The reason? According to Rudd researchers, parents are frequently misled by nutritional claims appearing on such beverage packaging, indicating, for example, that the products are “real,” “natural,” contain “Vitamin C” or “antioxidants” or because they depict fruit on labels.
Second, the New York Times reports today that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is now allowing food companies to use its “Kids Eat Right” logo on the labels of approved products. And the first product selected by AND for use of the logo? Kraft American cheese (or, more accurately, “pasteurized process cheese food.”)
Whether the logo use constitutes an actual “endorsement” from the dietetic organization is a matter of dispute; the organization says it isn’t an endorsement, but Kraft itself seems to think it is — and that’s certainly how most parents are likely to view the logo. Blogger Casey Hinds is quoted in the piece and expresses the concern of many parents and food advocates over this troubling development:
I am really shocked that this would be the first thing that the academy would choose to endorse…. It’s confusing and just one more way that feels like as parents, there are so many forces working against us as we’re trying to raise healthy kids.
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