cally modified organisms, or GMOs.
Polls show that most Americans want
to know. Vermont this year became the
first state to require labeling of GMO
foods. In Maryland, similar legislation
never made it out of committee.
Follow the money. Conglomerates
that manufacture heavily-processed food
products have bought many of the smaller
organic brands associated with the healthy-eating trend. That should concern consumers, according to Michigan State University
Associate Professor Philip H. Howard, who
tracks such consolidations. Some large corporations have weakened ingredient standards for their new subsidiaries and lobbied
against the kind of full-disclosure labeling
that their organic customers likely favor.
If you need a primer on why it’s
important to be vigilant when gro-
cery shopping, look no further than the
legal battle between POM Wonderful,
“Pomegranate Blueberry” but contains
just 0.3 percent pomegranate juice and
0.2 percent blueberry juice.
POM Wonderful sued Coca-Cola for
false advertising. Lower courts dismissed
the suit, deciding that calling a beverage
“Pomegranate Blueberry,” even when it is
99. 4 percent grape and apple juice, doesn’t
violate FDA rules. The U.S. Supreme
Court, however, recently allowed POM
Wonderful’s suit to go forward, saying
that Coca-Cola’s labeling practices “alleg-
edly mislead and trick consumers, all to
the injury of competitors.”
Even so, I’m not sure there’s a clear
moral high ground when it comes to the
big business of selling commercial juices.
The Federal Trade Commission found
last year that POM Wonderful had decep-
tively advertised its juice and dietary sup-
plements and had insufficient evidence to
support claims that its products reduced
the risks of heart disease, prostate cancer
and erectile dysfunction. The commis-
sion banned company marketers from
claiming that its products are “effective in
the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment
or prevention of any disease.”
In the interest of keeping life simple,
I try to avoid foods that require the ser-
vices of corporate legal departments. I’ll
be serving steak again soon. Only this
time I’ll make cauliflower “steak,” thick
slices of the dense vegetable, seasoned,
seared and topped with herb salsa verde.
If I want a glass of juice with that, I’ll
make my own. n
April Witt is a former Washington Post
writer who lives in Bethesda. To comment
on this column or suggest ideas, email
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