Lies, Damn Lies And Labels: How The FDA Screws Up Even The Definition Of ‘Healthy’

Credit: Wall Street Journal

The FDA And ‘Healthy’ Food: How An Avocado Is Less ‘Healthy’ Than Frosted Flakes

The labeling law brouhaha over Vermont’s efforts to inform its citizens whether they were eating genetically modified food, and therefore food that is routinely heavily treated with chemicals, herbicides and pesticides has ended for now. With Congressional slaves to the big food industry falling in line to instead enact a joke of a labeling law that does more to hide what is in our food and supercedes laws like Vermont’s Americans now know even less than we did before about what we are eating.

But that’s not the only way the government–being the servant as it is to Big Money–attempts to hide facts from us regarding our food.


Take for example the Food and Drug Administration. The agency, formed in 1906 is tasked with protecting and promoting the public health by regulating and supervising food safety, the safety of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and animal feed, among other things.

But as we have seen with so many federal agencies, big money and the industries that generate it have no problem positioning their current and former employees to staff and often head up the very same agencies that are tasked with regulating their businesses.

This unholy marriage leads to many ridiculous assertions. One example is that Frosted Flakes are considered healthier than avocados, by the FDA’s measures of what makes food healthy.

They look at foods low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol, as well as full of some “beneficial nutrients,” regardless of the source, leaving many highly processed foods to be considered more healthy than their natural counterparts. Nor do they differentiate between unhealthy fats and those deemed healthy, like the unsaturated fat found in avocados.

The FDA as mush as admitted that their definition of ‘healthy’ is at best dated and at worst misleading in the wake of a conflict over a snack food company calling its snack bars healthy, and they agreed to review their definitions.

But its safe to say that we know we can’t trust labels anymore. For instance words like ‘healthy,’ ‘natural,’ and ‘nutritious,’ and phrases like ‘made with organic ingredients’ are highly deceptive because the big food conglomerates want it that way. The first three mean literally nothing at all when it comes to the FDA; they have no set, official definition.

And the last one simply means that at least 70 percent of the product is made from organic substances. If you’re eating 30 percent glyphosate-doused, GMO foods, what difference does that really make?

At any rate, in light of the government’s obvious abandonment of the health and the wishes of its constituents to have access to honest, clear information about what we are eating in favor of allowing big business to lie to us, it is clear that it is now up to consumers to ferret out healthy options on their own.

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