Center for Science in the Public Interest has filed a class-action lawsuit against Coca-Cola, the parent company of Glaceau Vitamin Water. Vitamin Water, says CSPI, makes sugary drinks that promote obesity but positions these products as healthful because they contain added vitamins and herbs. Does this make them healthier? No, but it certainly makes them sell better.
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The childhood obesity team at Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) sends along its new year’s greeting: “great anti-junk food marketing” moments in 2008. These mostly focus on progress in industry self-regulation (voluntary) but also on congressional legislation to restrict marketing and put healthier foods in schools. Food marketing to kids is the point of food industry vulnerability. Food companies must stop marketing junk foods to kids. Voluntary self-regulation is notoriously ineffective. Legislative intervention is essential. Maybe this will be possible under the new administration? Fingers crossed.
As calorie labeling initiatives spread across the country, it’s fun to keep track of them. The latest is Westchester County, New York. The easiest way to get the complete list is from the menu labeling web page produced by Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
April 9 update: Ulster County New York has just passed one. Here’s the latest map from CSPI.
May 6 update: Here’s where to track CSPI’s 2009 legislative summaries.
Center for Science in the Public Interest has a new study out on the nutrient composition of kids’ meals in fast food restaurants. Of course they are all (OK, just 93%) too high in calories. Of course the default option includes sodas (Subway is the sole exception). If calories were on menu boards, would parents think twice about ordering these things? Might be worth a try, given that the average child under 18, or so reports USA Today, eats 167 meals a year in restaurants.
Thanks (I think) to Hugh Joseph for forwarding the YouTube video, “The guy from CSPI.” When I see things like this, I assume they are bought and paid for by the Center for Consumer Freedom, but it doesn’t say who made it or who paid for it. I’m curious: how much does it cost to produce something like this, and who paid for it? Anybody know?
Public health groups have filed an amicus curiae brief in support of New York City’s calorie labeling initiative. If you want to see what one looks like, here it is (I signed it too). Michael Jacobson tells me that the Center for Science in the Public Interest has received documents in response to its Freedom of Information Act request. These say that the FDA told the restaurant industry a year ago it would not interfere with the City’s proposal, suggesting that the FDA does not view federal laws as blocking calorie labeling. In the meantime, the labels are drifting up on menu boards. Go take a look! Next: will they do any good?
New York City readers: Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is collecting photos of calorie labels on restaurant and take out menu boards. Have a digital camera or cell phone handy? They are asking for photos of menu boards and close ups of the calorie information from Starbucks, Chipotle, Quiznos, Jamba Juice, Subway, etc. Upload the photos at www.flickr.com. This requires establishing a free account. Once you’ve done that, join the group “CSPI Menus” and upload. If that doesn’t work, you can mail photos to email@example.com. Thanks!