Hold on to Your Wallet: CSPI Flags 8 Food Frauds

Dishonest Labels and Marketing Crowd Store Shelves


Made with whole grains! Real Fruit! Strengthen your body’s defenses! Food marketers are seemingly stopping at nothing to convince consumers that fairly ordinary products like waffles, green tea, and jam hold the secret to better health. But according to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), these claims are often misleading, and are popping up all over the grocery store, from the chip aisle to the dairy case. Not even the baby food aisle is safe from fraudulent health claims, says the group.

“These days, companies will say just about anything to give their product a ‘health halo,’” said Bonnie Liebman, CSPI’s nutrition director. “Consumers need to know how to read the labels to get the whole story—and even then it’s not always clear.”

The nutrition watchdogs behind CSPI’s Nutrition Action Healthletter have compiled a list of eight of the most egregious rip-offs, including the following:

• Kellogg says its Special K Fruit and Yogurt cereal “combines the crunch of whole grain goodness, the smooth creaminess of yogurt and the sweet taste of berries,” yet the cereal has no berries or real yogurt, and barely any whole wheat.

• The package for Gerber Graduates for Toddlers Juice Treats is decorated with pictures of fruit, but the only fruit-like ingredient (listed after corn syrup and sugar) is white grape juice concentrate.

• A serving of Multigrain Tostitos has more sugar than any of its “four wholesome grains.”

Sara Lee Fruits of the Forest Deep Dish Pie looks packed with flavorful apples, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries “simmered in their own juices.” What the front of the package doesn’t tell you is that the dessert has more partially hydrogenated oil and sugar than any of the fruits except apples.

More Food Frauds are here.

Nutrition Action Healthletter is published 10 times per year. Introductory subscriptions are $10.

Contact Info: 

Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at] or Ariana Stone (astone[at]