FDA Sends Hershey Warning Letter

by Colin Carmichael

The FDA sent a warning letter to Hershey back on February 14th, 2012 concerning two of their syrup product labels.

Hershey's Syrup +Calcium

FDA sent warning letter to Hershey...

The FDA informed Hershey the products were "misbranded" and did not meet federal regulations…

"because the product labels bear nutrient content claims but do not meet the requirements to make the claims."

The labels under scrutiny were for the products, Hershey's® Syrup+Calcium and Hershey's® Syrup Sugar Free with Vitamin & Mineral Fortification.

Per the letter, there were multiple reasons that these labels were in violation of federal regulations.

Perhaps of most significance was this…

"The policy on fortification in 21 CFR 104.20(a) states that FDA does not consider it appropriate to fortify sugars or snack foods such as candies and carbonated beverages."

On one hand, I'm encouraged that the FDA has taken a stance not to allow special "Fortified" labeling on snack foods and candy.

On the other hand, there's all sorts of unhealthy foods that aren't classified as "snack foods" or "candy" that get away with the "Fortified" labeling. (Think breakfast cereals as one prime example.)

The FDA letter was sent to Hershey February 14, 2012 and made public this Tuesday (August 14th).

Comments on Labeling

Labeling is a subject I've been meaning to talk about and it's timely that this Hershey incident is in the news this week.

Hershey's Syrup +Calcium

Check out this Ajax Label

I want you to take a look at this label for Ajax Lemon dish detergent.

It's a little hard to see in the picture, but in the top left corner of the bottle it says: 40% More

The 40% More really jumps out at you when you see it in person.

And, if you're like me, when you see 40% More … you naturally think that you're getting 40% more free.

But that would be an erroneous assumption.

Okay, you say … it must mean "40% more than it used to be".

Oh, that seems like a good guess too. But no.

On this 34 ounce bottle, under "40% More", it reads…

"Vs. competitors' 24oz"

Are you kidding me?

So any product can claim "XX% More" and simply do a little 5th grade math and compare it to a smaller size bottle?!

Really?

Sigh.

Please don't trust the advertising messages or labels to get a true, accurate indicator of what you're really getting.

Tip #1: Don't just glance … but really read these labels, so you don't get duped unnecessarily.

Tip #2: Take the "promotional" type language on any label with a grain of salt. The labeling is there to entice you to buy. And often – as we found with Hershey – they don't just tip-toe the line, but cross it.


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