FDA cracks down on misleading food labels
Dreyers Grand Ice Cream Inc., Gorton's Inc., POM Wonderful and Beechnut were some of the companies that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says use misleading labels.
The government's main food cop has sent letters to 17 companies telling them to correct the label violations on 22 products.
The companies have run afoul of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act with claims like the products prevent disease or are healthy when they don't meet the official definition or contain no trans fats when they are high in saturated fats.
In October 2009 the FDA encouraged the companies to review their labels to make sure they were truthful and not misleading. A letter that went to the companies yesterday basically said the FDA means it this time.
"Today, ready access to reliable information about the calorie and nutrient content of food is even more important, given the prevalence of obesity and diet-related diseases in the United States," Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret Hamburg said in the letter.
The companies have 15 business days to tell the FDA how they will correct their labels.
The FDA also plans to propose new rules about calorie and nutrient labeling on the front of food packages to make it easier for consumer to know which items are healthy.
On the deceptive labels, the Center for Science in the Public Interest called the FDA's move the "largest crackdown on deceptive labeling in over a decade." But the group called for binding regulation for all companies. It released a report recently that found other misleading labels that so far have not been addressed.