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The Truth and History of Food Labels


WARNING: Be prepared for a completely different outlook on food. Do not read any further unless you are ready to understand the truth about our food industry and a failed effort to protect your nutrition.

Consider these questions as you read the article:
1. Is the mainstream food industry concerned at all about your health?
2. Is the FDA effectively protecting our health?
3. Is it simply ironic that the longer you eat poor quality foods, the sicker you get, and the sicker you get, the more prescription drugs are prescribed?

The history of food labels is a very important history to understand. American's have been conditioned to read food labels as a way to make better choices in nutrition. While this is somewhat plausible, it is dangerously misleading and often completely false.

Let's first look at the incredible world that thrives around us in natural perfection. Is there any other animal in the world required to study its food or count numbers before deciding what to eat? NO. Did we as humans have to study our foods or count calories, fat, or carbs before the 1900's? NO. So what happened? Most of us just assume that our advanced society has perfected the understanding of nutrition and that food labels are simply there to help us follow a nutritional map. Sadly, this assumption is very wrong and very dangerous.

Second, let's think about the completely flawed application of Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA). The concept of RDA's is a good thing. Unfortunately, the RDA's found on food labels have little meaning for the consumer. The flaw exists when people believe these RDA's are applicable to themselves. Consider the vastly different nutritional needs between a 4'11", 95 lb., 90 yr old woman versus a 6'4", 240 lb., NFL football player. Are we supposed to believe that both of them would need similar amounts of calories, fat grams, carbohydrates, or any other nutrients? No. In fact, not only do the amounts of nutrients differ greatly from person to person, but so do the types of nutrients. We are all uniquely different, and we all require a diet that only our own body understands.

Lastly, why is it that every food in your grocery store is now required to have a food label with nutrition facts and ingredients except fresh fruits and vegetables? Because even the government knows that what nature produced remains perfect. However, if man created it, it is guaranteed to be nutritionally flawed and all too often dangerous.

The history of food labels is actually a sad story to understand. Surprisingly, the government's own FDA website clearly explains its own history and failures. The FDA's original intentions were truly good in nature. As processed foods and deceptive labeling began to appear at the turn of the century, the government was smart enough to realize that man was willing to poison for profit. This same scenario was beginning to exist with false and dangerous drugs, or "snake oils", as well. Thus, the FDA was originally created to protect American's from lesser quality foods and dangerous drugs.

The very first government bill passed to protect us from inferior foods was called the "U.S. Pure Food and Drugs Act". Notice the well intentioned reference to PURE foods.

Over time, these good intentions were forced astray due to the financial greed of an ever growing food and drug industry. It was the food industry that first began to pressure the FDA with every means possible including politics, lengthy court battles, and expensive law suits. After 100 years of continued decline, we are now left with a massive food industry that has perfected the art of producing cheap, artificial foods designed solely for profit with very little protection or oversight to our health and nutrition.

The saddest part in this story regards our population itself. We also share the blame, because if we did not eat it, no one would make it. In an ironic twist, it was one of America's favorite foods that dictated much of the industry's demise:
The good old Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. This is a very interesting story! Please take the time to come back and read this very important and fascinating research article taken from the FDA's archives.

Click Here to read the FDA's article on food regulation.

After reading this, you will see where our current food labeling laws are a far cry from the original goal of ensuring "PURE" foods. The current disfunctional standards play on words by stating they follow a "nutritional" food labeling approach that specifies the "competitive components valued by consumers". What? That doesn't sound very health oriented! In other words, we'll just show the typical make-up of Fat, Calories, Sugar, Carbohydrates, etc., and then just make sure all the chemicals, preservatives, and artificial ingredients are listed for the consumer to read.

In short, the FDA has washed its hands of ensuring the true quality, or PUREness, of food. Instead, they expect that every consumer will make healthy decisions from the information provided. This approach completely ignores the real quality of food and does very little to protect our nutritional needs.

For example, which would be a better choice? 50 sugar calories from a bag of white sugar, or 50 sugar calories from a fresh apple? Food labeling requirements would say these two foods are "nutritionally" equal: 50 sugar calories = 50 sugar calories, Right? Wrong! Here's another example: Only in today's world is it possible to mislead the public by lowering the fat content of a product while also increasing the sugar and carb content and placing a giant label on the package that reads "REDUCED FAT!". This "Reduced Fat" product is now possibly even less healthy and more dangerous than its original formula, but the advertising and labeling leads you to believe it is a healthier choice.

Let's revisit those three questions at the first of this article. I would like to provide some food for thought to these questions, but I encourage you to research your own conclusions.

1. Is the mainstream food industry concerned at all about your health?
Here is just one of many examples to consider. In the mid 1950's Ocean Spray decided to find a cheaper way to produce their top selling cranberry juice. What was their main goal? To "create" the same taste but with less real juice. Using real cranberry juice was too expensive which in turn ate away at potentially higher profits. What did they create? High Fructose Corn Syrup, perhaps one of the worst food sweeteners ever created. Today, High Fructose Corn Syrup is in tens of thousands of products some of which would surprise you.

2. Is the FDA effectively protecting our health?
Did you know that the FDA cannot legally order the recall of any foods except infant formula? They can only request a company to voluntarily remove their potentially dangerous product. Usually, companies will comply, but sometimes they don't! Otherwise, a court battle ensues while the food or food product may continue to be sold.

3. Is it simply ironic that the longer you eat poor quality foods, the sicker you get, and the sicker you get, the more prescription drugs are prescribed? I ask this question simply to invoke thought. I personally find it interesting and maybe a little scary that the same agency responsible for monitoring drugs is also responsible for the quailty of our food, the Food and Drug Agency. FOOD and DRUG Agency...a mighty strange combination of responsibilities when you stop and think about it.

On the following page are some recent examples of where the food industry continues to push boundaries in food labeling. Your health is never the true concern of our mainstream food producing industry. Unfortunately, it is only the so called "alternative" food stores and suppliers that maintain a conscience in their products. Click Here for News Articles about Food.

The following excerpts are from these articles:

"There is no question that one of the reasons why the FDA may be so lax in its enforcement is pressure from the food companies or other special interests," said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

"Food manufacturers say their labels are within federal guidelines"

"People want to eat better, but the food industry is just delivering a lot of hype, not the real thing," said CSPI Legal Affairs Director Bruce Silverglade.

"You have to be a lawyer or a scientist," Jacobson says. "You really have to read labels very closely, and the average person has a lot of other things on his or her mind."

Just remember that these examples only represent what the FDA catches and acts upon, and that these are violations of standards that have already been manipulated over time to provide little true nutritional oversight.

People often ask me, "How do I know what to eat if we can't trust our food labels?". The answer is simple, but some people find it a hard truth to swallow..literally. The answer is WHOLE FOODS. Go back to the foods that God and Nature created for us, and steer away from the foods that man has 'engineered' for profit.

So how do you get started? I am always glad to recommend The Wholefood Farmacy: "A Grocery Store with a Conscience". ( company offers an increidble gateway for people needing to learn and experience what PURE food was meant to be, and with the added benefit of delicious convenience. Their 13-Day Tri-Decathlon is what changed my life and my understanding of food forever!

Authored By:

A.B. Goad

A.B. Goad is the founder of, a website dedicated to prevention using all natural products, effective technologies, timeless wisdom, and common sense.




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