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Industry, heal thyself!

This is what happens when large corporations try to regulate themselves.

The “Smart Choices” program, which was supposed to label healthy, nutritional food with a large green checkmark, is being shut down. The logo began appearing on food this summer, after two years of development by many of the country’s largest food manufacturers. But doubts about the program appeared immediately, after products such as Kellogg’s Froot Loops (whose first ingredient is sugar) and high fat mayonnaise started sporting the “healthy” logo.

The food industry hoped that the Smart Choices program would avoid the need for regulation of package-front product labeling by showing that they could develop an acceptable system on the own. But according to one person formerly involved with the program “It clearly blew up in their faces. And the ironic thing is, their device for pre-empting government involvement actually seems to have stimulated government involvement.”

The FDA is now moving quickly to formulate rules for package-front nutrition labeling.