How Calorie Counts On Packaged Foods Prove Food Companies Are Lying

Your favorite snack may well contain more calories than you think. This month a lawsuit filed in California against Kroger alleged false advertising after prosecutors discovered that its Carbmaster bread, which claimed to contain 30 calories per slice on the front of the package, actually listed the calories as 50 on the nutrition label on the back of the package. It’s just the latest in more than 100 lawsuits that have been filed over mislabeling. Another example is Chipotle, which listed its burrito as having 300 calories. After a lawsuit was filed, Chipotle then calculated that the burrito likely actually contained 1,050 calories in total, more than 3 times the advertised figure. The chain later apologized for the error, saying the 300 calorie unit was meant to refer to the chorizo alone. Dr. Susan Roberts, who researches food labels at Dartmouth University, says it’s almost impossible to police nutrition labels. “To a large extent, we’re depend on the honesty of food companies,” said Roberts. The issue is largely caused by the FDA allowing food companies to choose from several different methods to calculate calories, with some being more reliable than others. For some consumers, decisions made by relying on nutritional information are based upon medical necessity. False advertising by food companies can mislead or even endanger consumers, and it provides an unfair advantage over competitors who are advertising in compliance with FDA guidelines.