WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration is planning to launch a study into whether adding vitamins to snack foods and carbonated drinks leads consumers to believe that they can replace more nutritious foods.
The proposed Web-based study would survey 7,500 adults. Participants would view labels of mock products resembling actual food labels and answer questions about their perceptions and reactions to them. Examples would be a pseudo snack label with the claim: "[a]s much [nutrient] as a serving of [food product and mock carbonated beverage with the claim, "product name] plus [nutrient]."
In its paperwork submitted to the Office of Management and Budget regarding the proposed study, the FDA stated that it "has an interest in the American public achieving and maintaining diets with optimal levels of nutritional quality, wherein healthy diets are composed of foods from a variety of nutrient sources."
The proposal goes on to explain that the "FDA does not encourage the addition of nutrients to certain food products (including sugars or snack foods such as [cookies] candies and carbonated beverages)."
An aim of the study is to determine whether greater enforcement is needed by the FDA to ensure consumers are not misled by nutrient claims. The agency's plans for the study come amid several lawsuits against manufacturers of fortified products.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a class-action lawsuit in in 2009 against Coca-Cola over Vitamin Water's health claims, charging the beverage giant with deceptive advertising. In July, a federal judge gave the green light for the case move forward. | READ MORE
CSPI also recently settled a class-action suit filed against the Dr Pepper Snapple Group for fortifying its 7UP cherry soda with a small amount of antioxidants. | SEE MORE