Article: Editorial: Fortified Junk Food? -- February 2009
However, the agency objects to the diet drink’s claim of “plus,” which is acceptable only when a food or beverage has 10% more in key nutrients than regular versions. Additionally, the regulator who signed the letter deemed “inappropriate” the fortification of snack foods, such as carbonated drinks with vitamins and minerals.
I think objecting to the fortification of a diet drink is interesting, because people who drink the diet sodas do not expect (I hope) to get any significant source of nutrition from them. In today’s health-, natural- and green-oriented society, drinking a soda, especially a diet version, is something that might be done a bit shamefully, as if the person drinking the artificial concoction should know better.
But, I do like to think about the other side. There are many people who do not have the best of diets. They eat on the run, need foods that are fast and that are competitively priced. They will drink cola, for better or worse. Why not give these consumers a choice to drink something that might have a bit more nutrition? Is it not the American way to give people choices? Or is the thinking that fortifying snack foods condones them as being, even just a little bit, “good” for us? My opinion is that people who choose to eat a snack food are probably going to eat it, anyway. Why not offer even a bit more nutrition, if it’s possible?
In challenging economic times, many consumers will be forced to make food choices that may be less than optimal. Prices for organic, natural or healthier foods are usually higher than their regular counterparts. Carbonated beverages and certain types of snack foods are low-cost alternatives that already are a regular part of many families’ diets. Perhaps fortifying them is not as outlandish as it first seems; if it were, FDA would have responded much sooner.
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