The Grocery Manufacturers Association denounced a new packaged food ratings system announced by the Environmental Working Group, saying the EWG’s new Food Scores program is “severely flawed and will only provide consumers with misinformation about the food and beverage products they trust and enjoy.”
EWG said its ratings were the first guide to the American supermarket landscape to rate foods against all three of these criteria: nutritional value; health concerns about ingredients (including additives and preservatives) and contaminants (such as mercury, arsenic and BPA); and the degree and type of processing. EWG’s product scores range from 1 (best) to 10 (worst). Only one food out of six earns Food Scores’ top rating.
“Today, shoppers who care about the quality of food and how it was produced might look for labels like ‘natural' and ‘whole grain,’ ‘organic’ or ‘non-GMO certified,’ even as they wonder which claims mean something and which are marketing hype,” EWG president Ken Cook said in a release. “The truly conscientious scrutinize the Nutrition Facts panel on the back of the package. But few if any of us have the time or patience to peruse an entire food section and compare one label with another, much less read the microscopic fine print that lists ingredients we often cannot pronounce.”
GMA, which represents product manufacturers, in a statement called EWG’s methodology into question.
“Their ratings are based almost entirely on assumptions they made about the amount, value and safety of ingredients in the products they rate. Adding insult to injury, EWG conducted no tests to confirm the validity of any of their assumptions.
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“Not only will the EWG ratings provide consumers with inaccurate and misleading information, they will also falsely alarm and confuse consumers about their product choices," GMA added. "Embedded in the ratings are EWG’s extreme and scientifically unfounded views on everything from low-calorie sweeteners to the nutritional value of organic foods.”
GMA urged consumers to follow the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which include eating a variety of foods as recommended by ChooseMyPlate.gov combined with regular physical activity to create an overall healthy lifestyle.
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