food labels

In 2008 New York City became the first to require the posting of calorie counts in restaurants. In 2010, as part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the FDA was given control over enforcement of these same calorie labeling requirements nationwide. In this last year, New York Mayor de Blasio, upset at the slow pace of the federal response, ordered the City to begin enforcing the new calorie labeling requirements. The federal government, in turn, blocked that move as preempting their jurisdiction. And now, just a short ten years into policy we have a meta-analysis by the Cochrane group on the efficacy of these policies – shock upon shock, there is no evidence that they do any good.

The study...

I voted to legalize recreational marijuana in the State of Washington. My general belief is that adults should be allowed to do whatever they want to do, as long as they aren't harming anybody else.

So, this article is not about whether adults should have the right to smoke pot. Instead, this article is about basic responsibility, something that a lot of potheads apparently don't have.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a 9-year-old 5th grader took what she believed to be a box of gummy candy to school and shared them with friends. The problem is that it wasn't just any gummy candy; instead, the candy contained THC, the active...

Science writers have long suspected that the anti-GMO movement is linked to the anti-vaccine movement. Indeed, both are predicated upon one of the biggest myths in modern society: "Natural is better."1

In an interview with Science, Seth Mnookin recalled how a public health official warned him that anti-vaxxers were particularly prominent in locations that had a Whole Foods. Mr. Mnookin concluded, "It's those communities with the Prius driving, composting, organic food-eating people."

So, that's why it wasn't surprising when March Against Monsanto, a group that opposes GMOs, became a...

Reputations are a funny thing. It takes years to build them but mere seconds to destroy them.

Cargill, a company that provides all manner of agricultural products and services, has managed to ruin its reputation with farmers and science writers in a single tweet. On March 17, the company announced its partnership with the thoroughly wretched Non-GMO Project*, an anti-biotech organization that sticks a goofy "non-GMO verified" label on everything from water to kitty litter.

Here's the tweet:

And the flood gates swung open wide. The backlash was swift, brutal, and...

Foods are labeled with a lot of information to help consumers make the best choices based on nutritional content — see example below.

But this information isn't always used appropriately — a consumer may not understand it or not be willing to take the time to figure out what's best for him or her. So various schemes have been proposed to make choices easier, but still accurate, as we've discussed before.

In the British Commonwealth, a system called the "Traffic Light" label has been used. A group of investigators in New Zealand  wanted to ascertain whether this or another type of interpretive label would be more useful for consumers than the non-interpretive version above. Their...

For many of us, there's often a tug of war when making some food choices. Should we go for the yummy snack that's high in sugar/fat/calories, or opt for the healthier version? Nutrition labels are supposed to help with that — help us choose health over taste. But judging by Americans' expanding waistlines, maybe we need more help.  Researchers from Bonn University in Germany and Ohio State University collaborated to investigate the possibility of aids to change food choices and published their results in the journal Judgment and Decision Making.

According to these authors, previous research has identified traffic light (TL) labeling as an effective means of conveying the healthfulness of food products to...

What's in your hot dog? (Credit: Shutterstock) What's in your hot dog? (Credit: Shutterstock)

Food fraud is outrageously common. In 2013, the United Kingdom was rocked by a scandal in which products thought to contain only beef were adulterated with horse meat. Some products, instead of being 100% beef, were 100% horse meat. That same year, it was revealed that...

Shutterstock

We all know about nutrition facts labels on foods — whether we use them or not. But what about those other labels? You know, the ones that say 'sell by' or 'use by.' Is it safe to ignore them? Does the government mandate their appearance on foods?  Those labels are about food quality rather than safety. Here's a rundown of currently used labels according to the USDA:

  • Sell by: This...

shutterstock_102158047In the hopes that students will make use of them, many college dining halls post nutrition information near their food selections. The question arises — do the students even notice the labels, and if so, do they use them?

What would be the best placement to get diners' attention? A recent study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics investigated these questions.

Food economist Dr. Brenna Ellison and colleagues from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, investigated...

shutterstock_367851911 Label for Fresh Apples via Shutterstock

Food labels have been around for years, mandated by the FDA. They show calories, serving size, fat, carbs and some vitamins, etc. Somehow, though, they don't seem to have had an effect on obesity rates, which is one important goal.

Many people have complained that the label is hard to use, causing the agency to provide more guidance...