Hightower: Food Labels That Lie

Time for another voyage to the "Far, Far, Far-out Frontiers of Free Enterprise."On this mission, I take you to see things...that aren't there...and things that are more than they appear. To find such oddities, we vector down your own supermarket aisles.Our trip is made possible by Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer watchdog keeping an unblinking eye on the tricky maneuvers of the food industry -- maneuvers like, "labels that lie."For example, General Mills' breakfast cereal, "Berry Berry Kids." Cute name...but inside, there are no berries. NOT cute.Quaker plays this same trick on you, tempting your youngsters with "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Ultra-Fruit Power Bolts." But it's an ultra-fib...there is no fruit in it, not even fruit juice.Maybe you adults are tempted by Lipton's "Golden Saute Chicken Broccoli Pasta." Well, it does contain pasta, but there's more salt in the product than broccoli and the only "chicken" turns out to be chicken fat -- no chicken meat, not even a gizzard.But some products deliver more than promised. For example, two other breakfast cereals: General Mill's "Crispy Wheats 'n Raisins" and Kellogg's "Frosted Mini Wheats." Appealing to you health-conscious shoppers, both are prominently labeled "Lightly Sweetened." But the General Mills Product is 20 percent sugar, and the Kelloggs cereal is 22 percent sugar. You can get a toothache just lifting the box.Center for Science in the Public Interest has filed an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, asking for the enforcement of simple honesty in food packaging. To find out more about this food-labeling deception and what you can do about it, contact the Center on 202/332-9110.

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