What It Is: A nutrition-profiling system adopted by several of the world's largest food companies including Kraft, Pepsico, Kellogg, Con Agra Foods and Unilever. Eligible products display a green Smart Choices check mark on the front panel. It was launched by industry to simplify labeling and guide consumers to healthier options. The program failed two months after its August 2009 debut, amid widespread criticism of its lenient criteria for "healthy" foods; several state governments and the FDA also launched investigations into the program.
Pros: The goal of developing a single, standardized system across product lines seemed laudable.
Cons: There were no common criteria to evaluate all foods. Instead, products were divided into 19 categories, and each had its own definition of "Smart Choice." As a result, cereals like Froot Loops, which contain 40% sugar, qualified as healthy. Critics say the program's industry funding doomed it from the very start.
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