Eight food manufacturers agree to drop Smart Choices logo

Nick Rees Oct. 29, 2009, 4:00pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - All eight food manufacturers participating in the Smart Choices logo program have agreed to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's request that they drop the logo from their products.

The eight manufacturing giants - ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Inc., Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Inc., Riviana Foods, Sun-Maid and Unilever - will remove the logo at least until Blumenthal's investigation and a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation are completed.

"Dropping the Smart Choices logo was a smart choice -- and a sweet step," Blumenthal said.

"Food manufacturers rightly recognized our serious concerns about a program that promotes fat-saturated mayonnaise and sugar-laden cereals as smart. Smart Choices sensibly suspended its programs in the face of my investigation and plans by the FDA to establish industry standards for front-of-package labeling.

The Smart Choices symbol, which appeared prominently on select food and beverage labels, claimed to guide consumers into healthier food choices. Blumenthal's investigation has revealed that the logo, though, has been applied to mayonnaise, ice cream and sugary processed cereals.

"My investigation into Smart Choices, now supported by the FDA, continues to seek any scientific research or evidence behind a program that promotes mayonnaise, sugar-loaded cereal and ice cream as Smart Choices," Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal's investigation is seeking details about the consumer research and selection criteria used in driving the Smart Choices program as well as the process and fees in involved in administering the program and payments or developmental roles that major food manufacturers might have provided the system.

"Our initiative should send a message to other food manufacturers that labeling must be completely truthful and accurate without hype or spin, especially when appealing to children," Blumenthal said.

More News