Thursday, March 4, 2010

Evidence in Labeling

The NY Times reports that the F.D.A. is cracking down on food manufacturer's health claims on their package labels. I have somewhat mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, if a purported health claim is enough to convince someone to make wiser eating habits, then that has to be a benefit (albeit to the financial advantage of the manufacturer). However, as we strive to incorporate scientific evidence into these health claims, they need to be accurate and actually based on good data. A lot of supplements and vitamins now shy away from clear health claims for fear of the same F.D.A.-type crackdown (though is simply adding the word, "may" to the claim enough? As in "Vitamin C may contribute to increased immunity," etc.)

It seems as if the F.D.A. is willing to work with the manufacturers to convey accurate and scientific information that should satisfy the manufacturers while protecting and correctly informing consumers and this should be lauded.

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