9 food label controversies
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo announced May 5, 2014, that they would be removing the chemical brominated vegetable oil from their drinks, including Mountain Dew, Fanta and Powerade. The companies were targeted by a Change.org petition.
Kraft Foods Inc. and other packaged-food companies have been fighting against a new law in Vermont that would require them to mark products containing GMOs with a special label. Vermont may be the first state to make it law as of May 8.
Amid controversy over Chipotle’s genetically modified ingredients, the company responded by minimizing the amount of those ingredients. The corn and flour tortillas are the only products that may have GMOs. Chipotle is working toward 100 percent GMO-free food in the near future.
Although Subway says the chemical azodicarbonamide is safe, the company removed it from its bread in February 2014. Azodicarbonamide can also be found in shoes and yoga mats.
M&Ms are known for their bright, varying colors, but the dye in the classic candy was at the center of a petition started by a mother in January, who believes natural dyes should be used instead of artificial ones. She said after removing the dyes from her son’s diet, his behavior improved tremendously.
Starbucks Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino is a pretty pink, but up until 2012, the color was credited to a cochineal extract—dried and crushed beetles used in dye. These days lycopene, a chemical from tomatoes, is used.
Naked Juice Company was sued for using misleading labels such as “100% Juice,” “100% Fruit,” “All Natural” and “Non-GMO.” But the lawsuit says the products had unnatural ingredients and genetically altered soy. In a settlement, the company was ordered to pay out $9 million to customers.
The McDonald’s Happy Meal received a makeover in 2011 after parents pressured the golden arched restaurant to cut back on fat and calories. Out went some of the fries and in came more fruit.
In 2011, a law firm filed a class-action lawsuit against Taco Bell, alleging that the company did not have enough beef in its “seasoned meat” product to call it beef. The lawsuit was eventually dropped and Taco Bell revealed the ingredients in the product on its website.
For more information about food label controversies, go to BET.com.