Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Where is the FDA at when it comes to deceptive advertising?

Should big businesses be allowed to advertise their products as healthful and being able to promote joint and bone health, enhance the musculoskeletal system, prohibit age related eye diseases, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and supports optimum immune function.  If those big businesses are selling apples, or maybe carrots, whole and unadulterated, then yes, they should be allowed to advertise all those claims and proudly print that stuff on the labels.  But if you are making VitaminWater, and putting all of these very same health claims into your advertising and printing the same unproven lies right on the bottles; well, no. The marketing and business model for this product is incredible.  The good wholesome folks at CocaCola, are once again making literally hundreds of millions of dollars on this product with their ads and labels that promise health and vitality and in fact give you crap.

I don't want to be deceptive about their stuff, so I went to and went to try to download the nutritional info on one of the flavors.  Oh, the nutritionals are only available to those people in the US.  (says so right on the website)  I started to download the pdf file that is only 3.7 MB.  These guys have it set up so that it takes 24 minutes to download the file over a high speed connection.  They don't want anyone looking at it.  I could have gotten into the van and driven to the QT and bought a bottle in the time it took to download.  The file is two pages.  It lists the nutrient content of each product, and in the tiniest print imaginable, they show the ingredients.  At 200% magnification I was able to read the ingredients.  Water, Crystalline Fructose, Cane Sugar,  and then less than .5% of a few vitamins.

In 2010 the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the CSPI, a wholly independent group funded by consumer support, filed a lawsuit against Coke stating that they used deceptive advertising and marketing practices to sell this sugar water to the public.  In their lawsuit CSPI nutritionists state that the SUGAR content of the stuff more than offsets ANY purported health benefits.  They state that this is part of what is called the "Jellybean Rule" wherein because a jellybean has no cholesterol, therefore it is good for your heart.  CSPI states that Coke cannot deceptively state that a product, in this case Vitaminwater, on the label and then on the back of the label list the ingredients that show that the health claims are indeed false.  And that just because Coke lists the ingredients does not indemnify them of responsible advertising and marketing.  The judge that heard Coke's motion to dismiss the lawsuit in an INCREDIBLY fantastic decision stated that he saw evidence to proceed with the lawsuit.  He also stated that although the FDA frowns on advertising that promotes one ingredient to the exclusion of more prominent ingredients, in this case sugar.  The judge also stated that there was enough evidence that Coke violated FDA regulations by making health claims about Vitaminwater even though it does not meet required minimum nutritional thresholds, by using the word ‘healthy’ in implied nutrient content claims even though Vitaminwater’s fortification does not comply with FDA policy, and by using a product name that references only two of Vitaminwater’s ingredients, omitting the fact that there is a key, unnamed ingredient [sugar] in the product,”

Whew.  Two things about all of this scare me.  And also make me happy.  First, that Judge Gleeson points out that the FDA frowns on deceptive advertising.  FROWNS?.  The second, all of those products on the shelves of supermarkets that market themselves as having "Fruit" and have labels depicting fruit with their crap like waffles, yogurt, cereals and all kinds of other crap, in fact do not contain actual fruit, but "FRUIT BITS" .  Tiny bits of artificially created sugar, coloring, artificial flavoring, and in a few cases, tiny bits of dried fruit.  WHY?
The FDA is once again showing how well they are protecting consumers here in America.  Big business, big money.  It isn't as though the FDA has done anything to protect the interests of American consumers in the past.  Well, they have done a few things, like close down a peanut butter production facility that was so rampantly deteriorating as to have huge amounts of contaminants in their products as to sicken the inspectors.  But other than that, the real health hazards in our food system, GM food, toxic additives, grossly huge amounts of pesticide and herbicide residues, the proliferation of the use of antibiotics in mega farms and other SERIOUS health concerns are overlooked because big businesses are ready and waiting with HUGE amounts of CASH to spread out to governmental entities and elected officials.  Hmm. where do most of the directors and department heads of the FDA and USDA work once leaving government jobs?  Monsanto.  Which of the unbiased Supreme Court judges used to be lawyers for Monsanto?  Who used to be a lawyer for Monsanto and was specifically picked by Obama (in a GROSSLY confliction of interest) to be the nations food safety czar? 

The FDA has proven time and time again that their focus is not on the HEALTH of the Americans that they are entrusted to protect, but the WEALTH of the big agribusinesses that funnel MONEY into the pockets of anyone with the power to make decisions.  It is never going to change.  EVER.  Money talks louder than the needs of citizens.  What can change is that you, me, everyone out there, begins to recognize what is going on in the world and stands up against big business.  Shop at farmers markets, don't buy crap anymore.  ASK the grocery managers if the zucchini they have on sale is GMO or non-GMO.  If they don't know, tell them you won't shop there until they know what they carry.  And do it loudly in public.  Alert your friends to the threat to their lives and their very health and well being if they continue to spend their food dollars on toxins and poisons.  We have to care enough about our own health to take action, our government does not give a rat's ass about you at all.  Think about it. 

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