(NaturalHealth365) Most health conscious consumers already know that food labeling and advertising campaigns like Milk Does the Body Good can be deceptive – to say the least. But, when food labeling ‘inaccuracies’ endanger public health – that ought to be called criminal.
For example, my most recent trip to Whole Foods Market motivated me to sound the alarm. I asked an employee, ’does Garden of Life RAW Protein contain a high level of heavy metals?’ The answer was no.
Keep in mind, according to Garden of Life:
”It’s not only what RAW Protein contains, it’s also about what it doesn’t contain – there are no fillers, no artificial flavors and no synthetic ingredients and it’s gluten-free and dairy-free.
So for those looking for highly nutritious, nutrient-dense, easily digestible, high quality protein nutrition, look no further than RAW Protein from Garden of Life.”
Food labeling deception can cause serious health problems
According to Mike Adams – an investigative journalist, internet activist and science lab director – if a Whole Foods employee says, “We don’t sell proteins containing heavy metals,” – they are LYING to you.
And, that’s my point, we – as consumers – have a right to know what’s in our food. Just like my recent story about U.S. government politicians looking to block GMO labeling laws – we should never allow any food producer, seller or politicians to hide food ingredients from us. And, why on Earth are highly-toxic heavy metals allowed to be sold in foods?!
Just to be clear, if Garden of Life RAW Protein powders are loaded with excessive amounts of heavy metals and Whole Foods continues to sell these products without informing its customers…that’s dishonest and unacceptable.
My question is simple – what will Garden of Life and Whole Foods Market do about this issue?
Coca-Cola slammed by the courts for lying to its customers
U.S. food regulatory agencies routinely allow brands, such as Coke, to name its juice blend ‘Pomegranate Blueberry’ – the two ingredients that provide flavor – but are present only in small quantities. In fact, the juice is really made up of inexpensive apple juice.
There are many people who buy pomegranate juice for its health benefits. When they buy the Minute Maid pomegranate-blueberry juice (owned by Coca-Cola) – they are getting less than one half of one percent pomegranate juice.
Real pomegranate-rich juice can provide a number of health benefits such as preventing plaque from forming in the arteries, improving blood flow to the heart, lowering blood pressure and inhibiting cancers of the prostate, breast or colon.
Apple juice is low in antioxidant capacity and pomegranate juice is high in antioxidant capacity. You don’t want to be fooled into thinking you are consuming something that provides all of the above benefits – when it doesn’t.
Let’s talk about what’s really at stake
Coca-Cola and POM Pomegranate Juice are in the center of a food labeling fight. In a market dominated by food products with deceptive labels, the Supreme Court is going to be the statutory interpreter how business may label a wide variety of products.
Companies can peddle health claims without any scientific proof of the claims and worst of all without more than a drop of the said ingredient. No surprise, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the way for this practice.
Now it will be up to the Supreme Court whether a lawsuit brought by POM against Coke has merit. The lawsuit is about if Coke is using deceptive labels on its Minute Maid pomegranate-blueberry juice blend.
POM’s lawyer, Seth Waxman, declared during the oral arguments, “What’s misleading consumers here is they have no way on God’s green earth of telling that the total amount of blueberry and pomegranate juice in this product can be dispensed with a single eyedropper.”
He went on to say, “It amounts to a teaspoon in a half gallon.” The Coca-Cola beverage under attack – called “Pomegranate Blueberry” – contained 0.3 percent pomegranate juice, 0.2 percent blueberry juice, and 99.4 percent apple juice.
Naturally, Coca-Cola defended its label, claiming that it is approved under the FDA’s Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The Justice Department actually backs Coke in saying POM doesn’t have a case.
Marketing deception throughout the juice industry
Pure pomegranate juice is expensive; however companies – other than POM – keep prices low by using pomegranate juice as a flavoring rather than as the main ingredient. POM sued a host of these companies for falsely advertising the pomegranate characteristics of their juices.
Another case was when Pom Wonderful tried to sue Ocean Spray. POM alleged, in 2009, that Ocean Spray’s Cran-Pomegranate juice contains only a trace amount (2 percent) of actual pomegranate juice and is instead primarily a blend of cheaper grape and apple “filler” juices.
POM contended that Ocean Spray purchasers are duped into believing they will achieve the health benefits of pomegranate consumption when, in reality, the beverage contains pomegranate juice for flavoring purposes only.
Why would anyone buy Ocean Spray juice for health?
At trial, POM told the jury that a consumer would have to drink 50 glasses of Ocean Spray’s juice to match the amount of pomegranate in one glass of POM’s juice.
Attorneys said if Ocean Spray was let off the hook for marketing a deceptive drink to consumers, it would send a message to the juice industry that it’s okay to mislead and confuse the public with advertising claims. POM lost the case and so did the consumer.
The POM litigation joins a growing list of food product misbranding claims. These cases pose such issues as whether Kashi cereals can properly be advertised as “natural,” given the complex cereal manufacturing processes involved, or whether ’high fructose corn syrup’ is appropriately classified as ‘corn sugar.’
I’ve even been told, by a manager at Whole Foods Market, that GMO corn is ‘natural’ because it comes from corn. (I’m not kidding)
The Coca-Cola case could have far-reaching effects on how foods are labeled. The food and beverage industry is concerned that a ruling in favor of POM could bring on more litigation against food companies and create new label requirements.
If the court sides with Coca-Cola, then it will be business like usual. Which means – companies will go on asserting that the ingredient they use to flavor a product, no matter how little they use, can justify the bold letters it uses on the label to sucker consumers into buying its products.
Bottom line, the FDA should NEVER allow consumers to be deceived by food producers. If our justice system wants to uphold its integrity, when it comes to consumer rights and safety issues, it must always rule in favor of the consumer and hold any corporation liable for deceptive business practices. And, of course, never forget the importance of boycotting fraudulent companies that do not support human health.
Knowledge is power and your purchasing dollars have tremendous influence in creating a better world.
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About the author: Jonathan Landsman is the host of NaturalHealth365.com, the NaturalNews Talk Hour – a free, weekly health show and the NaturalNews Inner Circle – a monthly subscription to the brightest minds in natural health and healing.
Reaching hundreds of thousands of people, worldwide, as a personal health consultant, writer and radio talk show host – Jonathan has been educating the public on the health benefits of an organic (non-GMO) diet along with high-quality supplementation and healthy lifestyle habits including exercise and meditation.
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