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Reblogged:Food Label Censorship

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John Stossel reports that an entrepreneur is being prevented from informing potential customers that he is offering a dietary solution for "FODMAP" intolerance. (FODMAPs -- fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols -- are a class of sugars and sugar alcohols that can cause intestinal distress in susceptible people.)

Hard-to-find rules by the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture are keeping Ketan Vakil from employing the simple expedient of labeling his wares Low-FODMAP:
Sorbitol, a FODMAP. (Image by Kemikungen, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)
"Everyone agrees that Ketan is telling the truth," [Justin] Pearson[, senior attorney at public interest law firm the Institute for Justice] points out. "The government just bans it because it's not on the outdated, pre-approved list."

Some of the approved terms don't seem very scientific, or even specific. Ambiguous labels like "home style" and "deli fresh" are approved. But "Low-FODMAP," a more useful term, isn't allowed.

The "approved" list isn't even easy to find. It's scattered throughout several government websites. It took [Stossel TV fellow Trevor] Kraus hours just to compile a partial list of what's approved.

"How do you get on that list?" Kraus asks Pearson.

"With a giant pile of money," Pearson replies...
These are, of course, the same people who are happy to permit a pseudoscientific, scare-mongering term like "non-GMO" to appear on food labels everywhere, putting to the lie their alleged mission of protecting consumers from being misled.

I am glad to see the Institute for Justice on this case, and hope that the lawsuit at least brings up the issue of freedom of speech, along with the freedom of individuals to ingest whatever they want, both of which are routinely violated by the FDA, and apparently also the Department of Agriculture.

(Companies should be free to label their wares however they wish, so long as such labeling isn't fraudulent, which the court system already exists to adjudicate.)

I recently noted the following from a great broadside against the FDA:
[T]he FDA is wrong to withhold drugs from the market and wrong to put the government's imprimatur on them."
It is likewise wrong to do the same thing regarding food labels: As we can easily see here, anti-GMO hysteria has the government's blessing, while people with a kind of sugar intolerance are being kept in the dark about a way they can attempt to deal with their problem. And that's just the tip of the iceberg when the government wrongly gets into the business of violating freedom of speech.

-- CAV

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