The New York Times reports today on a food-industry backed labeling system called "Smart Choices," wherein, they slap a "Smart Choice" label on products of their choosing. Like food that's killing us slowly. This is why you're fat:
Somewhere, Michael Pollan's having an coronary. The "Smart Choices Program," backed by some of Big Food's major powerhouses ("Kellogg's, Kraft Foods, ConAgra Foods, Unilever, General Mills, PepsiCo and Tyson Foods"), works like this: they can pay up to $100,000 for a membership, with a fee based on the total number of products sold. So, in essence: the Smart Choices Program makes money by helping sell shitty foods. How shitty?
Well, Froot Loops, for example. It's a cereal so patently un-fruity, its creators have to spell their product's name incorrectly in order to avoid possibly misleading consumers of it actually containing any fruit. One cup of Froot Loops—and, really, most people have two—has 15 grams of sugar in it. Breakfast! And this is healthy? Turn to the "expert" who, while leading the Smart Choices Program, also works as the dean at Tufts University's Nutrition Science and Policy School. Eileen T. Kennedy, get cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs:
"The checkmark means the food item is a ‘better for you' product, as opposed to having an x on it saying ‘Don't eat this,' " Dr. Kennedy said. "Consumers are smart enough to deduce that if it doesn't have the checkmark, by implication it's not a ‘better for you' product. They want to have a choice. They don't want to be told ‘You must do this.' ...She said Froot Loops was better than other things parents could choose for their children.
"You're rushing around, you're trying to think about healthy eating for your kids and you have a choice between a doughnut and a cereal," Dr. Kennedy said, evoking a hypothetical parent in the supermarket. "So Froot Loops is a better choice."
Oh, come on. They can't be that bad. Can we get a second opinion?
"These are horrible choices," said Walter C. Willett, chairman of the nutrition department of the Harvard School of Public Health.
Hm. Also problematic: even though Kennedy's supposedly not paid by Smart Choices, and even though the program abides by "government dietary guidelines and widely accepted nutritional standards," the FDA - like the mom who will only let you buy Kix - is closely watching Smart Choices and the effect it has on consumers. But that's the point! they say. It's positive! Why be the asshole parents when we're giving you the chance to be the nice ones?
"The checkmark means the food item is a ‘better for you' product, as opposed to having an x on it saying ‘Don't eat this,' " Dr. Kennedy said. "Consumers are smart enough to deduce that if it doesn't have the checkmark, by implication it's not a ‘better for you' product. They want to have a choice. They don't want to be told ‘You must do this.' "
And who are the parents helping their kids decide between a doughnut and a bowl of sugar-infested cereal for breakfast? All of them! But most affected are children of immigrants and The Poors, naturally. Delicious awful food is cheap to make and cheaper to sell, as opposed to healthier foods, which are expensive, because they get outsold by the aforementioned food corporations. Pair it with great marketing and a supposedly official seal of approval, and now you have the Junk Food Lobby unabashedly trying to actively exploit the poor health decisions of those who often can't afford to make better ones. And let's not forget: good looking people statistically earn more over fatties.
So: Junk food, besides being bad for you, is also trying to reinforce the status quo in America, and they're doing it shamelessly, without giving a shit about transparency. It's a short stretch from Froot Loops to Crack Berry Crunch and Opiate Oats from where we can see. And what kind of blood sucking villain could be behind all of this?
We have our suspects.