Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Calls On Food Manufacturers To Drop Smart Choices Label

October 26, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today called on major food manufacturers to disavow and discontinue using the Smart Choices logo as soon as possible, or at the very least, until his investigation and new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards are complete.

Shortly following Blumenthal's announcement that he is investigating the program, the Smart Choices Program, Inc. announced Friday that it will voluntarily freeze the program -- but that companies must individually determine whether to continue using the logo.

In letters to ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Inc., Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Inc., Riviana Foods, Sun-Maid and Unilever, Blumenthal called on all participating companies to stop using the Smart Choices logo to avoid more misleading and consumer confusion.

Blumenthal's investigation into the program is continuing and now supported by the FDA, which announced its shared concerns late last week.

"These companies should disavow and discontinue using the Smart Choices label at least until my investigation and new FDA standards are complete," Blumenthal said. "Suspending Smart Choices was a smart choice -- recognizing the severity of concerns that I and the FDA have raised.

"The program's cessation of active operations makes continued use of the logo potentially even more misleading and compounds consumer confusion.

"Our investigation into Smart Choices continues -- seeking any scientific research and reasoning to support a program that promotes fat-filled mayonnaise, sugary cereal and ice cream as Smart Choices."

A "Smart Choices" symbol now prominently appears on select food and beverage labels nationwide and claims to help guide consumer food choices.

Foods bearing the Smart Choices symbol include Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise (light and non-light), Breyers ice cream and sugary processed cereals such as Froot Loops, Cocoa Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs.

Blumenthal has requested information from Smart Choices Program, Inc., the organizations which administer the program (NSF International and American Society for Nutrition), and major food manufacturers whose products bear the Smart Choices label, including Kellogg, PepsiCo and General Mills.

The investigation seeks details about the consumer research and selection criteria driving the Smart Choices program; the process and fees involved in administering the program; and any payments or developmental role that major food manufacturers might have provided for the program.