Study: 1 In Every 4 Food Labels Is Inaccurate


kosher-foodYou watch what you eat but still face weight gain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Maybe it’s not your fault.

So what’s to blame for that diet roadblock?

New research shows those food labels you’ve come to count on may not be that accurate after all.

They’re required by law and relied upon by millions to make healthy food choices.

“Nutrition labels basically give you insight into what a product contains,” nutritionist Nicolette Pace said.

Everything from the fat content to the amount of protein, carbohydrates, sugar, sodium and more is measured. Affixed on packages since 1990, we assume food labels are accurate. But now several consumer groups say these nutritional facts often read more like fiction.

“We found that one in four of these labels is inaccurate,” said Andrea Chalupa, editor at

Researchers at that consumer Web site found lab tests conflicted with information on the labels of hundreds of popular products.

What’s worse, researchers say, is the majority of products with inaccurate labels are marketed to consumers with dietary concerns like diabetes or high blood pressure.

“Low in sodium, low in carbs, low in fat and those are the ones that Walletpop found to be the most misleading,” Chalupa said.

But that’s not all.

“We’re also talking about other information like the portion size, the calories,” said Lisa Shames, director of the National Resources And Environment arm of the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO — an investigative branch of Congress — did its own investigation and confirmed that one in four labels is wrong. The GAO goes on to charge that the Food and Drug Administration, the agency in charge of overseeing the accuracy of these labels, has done little to fix the problem.

“We found overall the FDA cannot give any assurance of companies’ compliance with food labels,” Shames said.

In other words, the GAO says the FDA hasn’t done any testing.

“It has told us that it is in reactive mode chasing after food-borne illnesses so that labeling tends to get a lesser priority,” Shames said.

In a statement, the FDA responded saying they routinely review product labels and take action against violators.

{CBS Broadcasting/Noam Newscenter}