Clear labeling needed; Crunch Berries not a fruit

It’s important for food companies to disclose relevant information to the public so that consumers can make informed decisions about what they eat.

For example, Cap’n Crunch should make it abundantly clear that the berries in its cereal are not real fruit so that Californian Janine Sugawara can intelligently balance her diet.

News 10 in Sacramento reports that Sugawara filed a class-action lawsuit against the makers of Cap’n Crunch cereal last June because one product’s label misled her. She bought Cap’n Crunch cereal for four years because she thought the Crunch Berries were real fruit.

Federal Judge Morrison England, Jr. dismissed the suit, saying, "a reasonable consumer would have understood the product packaging to expressly warrant only that the product contained sweetened corn and oat cereal, which it did."

"As far as this court has been been made aware, there is no such fruit (Crunch Berries) growing in the wild or occurring naturally in any part of the world," England wrote.

England also noted that Sugawara’s lawyer, Harold Hewell, filed a simliar suit against Fruit Loops that was also thrown out of court.

A nation fed on local food?

The political power of the U.S. president just sets the stage for the presidential family to influence American culture.

I think one of the most interesting galleries at the Eisenhower Museum–dedicated to our 34th president who hailed from Abilene, Kansas (about an hour from where I write)–is the gallery filled with outfits worn by his wife Mamie. Plaques near the outfits describe the impact the former First Lady had on women’s fashion during her husband’s presidency–like many First Ladies before and after her.

Purpose-minded people everywhere hope that their cause will be picked up by a member of the presidential family and instantly regarded as fashionable.

This, of course, includes proponents of local food.

As reported by the New York Times,

“The nonprofit group Kitchen Gardeners International wants to inspire people to grow their own food in home gardens. More recently, its “Eat the View!” campaign has targeted the ultimate home garden — the White House lawn.”

According to the group’s website,

Kitchen Gardeners “are self-reliant seekers of "the Good Life" who have understood the central role that home-grown and home-cooked food plays in one’s well-being.”

Across the pond, the Japan Times reports that, “public trust in food, packaging and labeling [is] crumbling across the nation,” and it’s leading consumers to “tak[e] a healthy interest in vegetables and other locally made produce.”

The article asserts,

“The vegetables and fruits are not necessarily cheap compared with supermarket prices, but people are apparently buying them because they feel safer eating products made by farmers who aren’t afraid to be identified.”

It can’t hurt to know who supplies your food. However, without microbiological evidence of the safety of products and processes, there’s really no guarantee that food produced nearby—or even in your own yard—will be safer to eat than food that’s been in transit for a while.

Sick people just get the comfort of knowing who it was that let the poop get on their food.