Tell the truth, once you get past the calorie count, or maybe the carbs and fiber counts, food labeling is one big blur, right?
Despite a lot of how-to articles and handy charts, most of us still limp along when it comes to understanding all the fine print on those labels. We’re not much more informed when it comes to the bigger type on the front of the products either.
A consulting company run by a former Food and Drug Administration official is coming at this from another angle. FDAImports headed by Benjamin England is set up to guide food, cosmetic and supplement manufacturers and importers through the Byzantine system of regulation and labeling controlled by the FDA, USDA and other branches of Uncle Sam’s family.
The company handed out “Live Forever Juice,” at a recent trade fair in Baltimore, a brightly packaged faux product that works as a grabby teaching tool. A series of videos on the company’s website play off the packaging to explain boundaries and errors in nutrition details, juice content and other claims that could land a manufacturer or importer in legal and financial hell.
Seeing all this from the inside, so to speak, is useful for consumers of the stuff too. The Food Watchdog just wandered over to a store that sells a wide range of imported foods from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It didn’t take long to find sauces and cosmetic items with dubious adherence to the rules FDImports is talking about.
For the curious foodie, there’s some insider stuff offered up on FDAImports site that sheds light on the often murky film noir world of food importing. It’s not hard to find articles on recalls and banned imports, but understanding something about how that is prevented and corrected (nor not) by the food company is useful.
Rumor has it that some FDA types at the trade fair circled the “Live Forever Juice” display like a bomb squad. Good to know.
–The Food Watchdog