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Oct 13, 2012 09:00 PM

Is this your "dream" food label?

From Bittman at the NYT: "My Dream Food Label"

The op-ed piece begins thusly:


WHAT would an ideal food label look like? By “ideal,” I mean from the perspective of consumers, not marketers.

Right now, the labels required on food give us loads of information, much of it useful. What they don’t do is tell us whether something is really beneficial, in every sense of the word. With a different set of criteria and some clear graphics, food packages could tell us much more.

Even the simplest information — a red, yellow or green “traffic light,” for example — would encourage consumers to make healthier choices. That might help counter obesity, a problem all but the most cynical agree is closely related to the consumption of junk food.

Picture below is an example of what Bittman speaks of.

Is this your dream food label? It certainly isn't mine.

Read the full thing for yourself:

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  1. Interesting, but honestly, I don't trust what my country considers to be "nutritious." I do wish we would label GMO's and we would make trans fat illegal, as it is in Europe. One of the primary reasons I stopped eating out (well, there's lots of reasons) is because I want to know what's in my food. Sorry to rant, but I rarely read the nutrition label. The thing I find the most information from a package of food is the ingredient listing. Thank you for the interesting topic.

    Low fat, all natural, no preservatives, etc. . . don't mean a thing. Read your ingredients, and know what to look out for. Consumers need to educate themselves, and no nutritional label will do it as far as I'm concerned.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tudor_rose

      Right. All natural does not mean "not harmful". Heck, arsenic is all natural!!

    2. Assigning the "foodness" and "welfare" ratings would be a costly process since we'd presumably have to set up some kind of independent agency to manage it. And I predict there'd be many opportunities for manipulation of the process by those with business or political interests. The end result: more expensive food with limited additional valuable information.

      1. I generally like Bittman. But some of his columns read like ideas he had while very stoned. This is one of those columns.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cowboyardee

          I actually agree with your statement cowboyardee (fully agree). I wouldn't trust such a label...use of the word "dream" label seems very appropriate here.

        2. It's unworkable. Mark Bittman used to be a sensible guy - the "How to Cook Everything" books are very good. Ever since he went vegetarian, however, he's been on one crusade after another relating to his concept of what's healthful, and often hasn't known what he's talking about - literally, as some Hounds have pointed out. I've just about written him off.

          1. Don't forget also, it's not just what's in our food, but what it's packaged in too. BPA's are not labeled on cans, and there are also harmful chemicals in other packaging, like BHT in cereal packaging. You also can't tell how your meat was raised, if there are antibiotics, and so on.