Everyone seems to have a different theory regarding the source of the diabetes epidemic in the United States. Some blame the influence of fast food advertising. Others blame the enormous portions of food that most American restaurants will serve to their customers on average, be they fast food or fine dining. There’s a bit of truth to every theory. But there’s one problem with our foodservice industry that weighs heavier on this nation’s youth than anything else, and that’s our overuse of sugar in products that we sell to our youth. (Related Topics: Florida Food Handlers Certificates, Florida Food Handlers Card, Florida Food Handler Certification)
Walk down the cereal aisle of any grocery store and you will find yourself in a sea of cartoon characters and bright colors on the boxes of products designed specifically to appeal to children, the contents of which consist of remarkably large proportions of sugar. And it’s not just in cereal either. Sweets are everywhere and the prime target of these products is usually people under the age of ten.
Perhaps what’s most damaging is the FDA’s oversight as to what food companies can and cannot label as “healthy”. There is a long list of ingredients that producers cannot include in their food products if they want to label them as ‘healthy’. Yet, mysteriously, sugar is nowhere to be found on that list. As a result, companies can legally market extremely sweet products as being healthy, which, whether consciously or subconsciously, can heavily influence consumer’s buying habits.
The first step is recognizing and acknowledging the problem. The second step is taking action. At long last, it looks as though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took notice and is finally putting legislation into effect.
Starting sometime within the next year, the FDA will require that companies selling candy bars, cereal boxes, or any other products with contents that exceed a certain amount of sugar, to label their products as such. In addition to the quantity of sugar, they’ll also have to indicate whether the sugar is naturally occurring or added artificially. For example, raisins and fruits naturally have sugar in them, whereas Frosted Flakes do not. Frosted Flakes is an easy example, but for many products it’s not so straightforward. With this new ruling, customers will be equipped to make a more informed decision than ever before. Most importantly, companies will no longer be able to advertise exceedingly sweet food as health products.
The changes will go into effect next year, however some companies are already making changes. KIND Granola Bars already released a new packaging that follows the the FDA’s new regulation. Over the next months we will likely see other companies follow in their footsteps as they reshape their marketing models accordingly.
Learn all about food safety rules and regulations in America. Take Ken Kuscher’s food handler certification course and get your career in foodservice moving on the right foot. Call 561-369-2622 to sign up or for more information.