Nutritionists sniff at Smart Choices program
The Smart Choices program is a collective effort by major food processors, including Kellogg, General Mills and Kraft, to identify foods with positive nutritional attributes. These are entitled to use a standardized green “Smart Check” logo, usually on the front of the package. About 500 products with the Smart Check have been rolled out, with more on the way.
Nutritionists are critical because Smart Check has been awarded to products like Kellogg’s Froot Loops and General Mills’ Cocoa Puffs. Walter Willett, chairman of the Nutrition Department of the Harvard School of Public Health, told the New York Times that this constitutes “a blatant failure of this system and it makes it, I’m afraid, not credible.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the Smart Choices program’s leaders against using misleading or inadequate criteria. However, the agency acknowledged the importance of a clear, simple front-of-package labeling plan.