Thursday, September 22, 2005

Balance in the Tufts Daily News: Is Soda the New Tobacco?

Friedman School students Nicole Ferring and Sarah Wally offer an interesting counterpoint to the rather favorable review that U.S. Food Policy gave to CSPI's proposal for warning labels on caloric sodas. Their article this week in the nutrition-oriented Balance section of the Tufts Daily News leads with the following:
Next time you pop open a can of soda and take a swig, a warning label might be staring you in the face. Americans' rising soda consumption has caught the eye of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a non-profit consumer health group that recently filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration to post health notices on sugary soft drinks. But while CSPI employees hope that mandating cigarette-like warning labels on soft drink containers will encourage less consumption of the calorie-filled beverages, not everyone in health and nutrition circles is cheering them on.
Ferring and Wally acknowledge the nutritional dangers of soda, citing recent Tufts research on soda's growing share of calories for the young, but they find fault with "the suggestion that a label alone would remedy the problem." By way of comparison, they argue that warning labels on tobacco products deserve little of the credit for the subsequent collapse of tobacco consumption. Their closing quotation, from a Nutrition Marketing Specialist and dietitian for Tufts Dining Services, recommends parental responsibility in place of warning labels as the best solution to the soda problem.
"It's not about labeling foods as good and bad," she said. "All foods and drinks can play a part in the American diet. The drinks themselves aren't the problem. The amount being consumed is the problem... And education - starting in the home with parents - is going to make the difference. Not more labeling."
Comment section is open for (civil!) response, favorable or unfavorable.

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