Lot has been said about truthful labeling that must reflect the quality of the contents in a packaged food and the guidelines and regulations are becoming more and more stringent with each passing day. But what is being ignored is the blatant claims of super quality and health boosting ability of products blaring through the media, printed as well as electronic, which go unchallenged and unchecked. South Africa has taken a lead in this area by taking action to clamp down on such unethical practices by the food industry in that country.
"The Department of Health published draft regulations for labelling and advertising food in July 2007 to crack down on misleading information provided to consumers. The regulations included a ban on advertising junk food to children under the age of 16, prohibited making health claims for a list of nonessential foods, and said food manufacturers and importers must provide scientifically valid information on their labels".
While the regulations are easy to be drafted, how they can be implemented is a difficult question. There are many Grey areas in human nutrition which the industry tends to exploit and it is here that technical inputs from knowledgeable resource persons are needed to interpret data provided by the manufacturers while making claims. A body consisting of food scientists, medical community, nutritionists, toxicologists and psychologists only can come to any meaningful conclusion regarding the virtues of any food and they should be the arbitrators for deciding on any clam of superiority for any food product.