Monday, July 23, 2012

Gummi Fruit Snacks and Summer Lunches

Parents everywhere pack their children fruit snacks for lunch. They're packaged in little one-serving sizes, they're sweet enough for children to scarf down, and they have the benefits of real fruit. Right?

Think again.

Gummi fruit snacks are hardly different from gummi bears. Though many are made with some fruit juice and include a few vitamins, they have as much sugar as other gummi candies.

Samira Kawash of www.candyprofessor.com writes in The Atlantic that "Packages plastered with fruit bouquets and boasting fruit juices and purees give this category an aura of virtue that other candies can only envy. The problem is that the wholesome fruit goodness of fruit snacks is wholly imaginary. Fruit snacks are not fruit. They're not better than candy. They are candy."

That's why the Center for Science in the Public Interest, or CSPI, has filed a lawsuit against General Mills for mislabeling treats as "fruit snacks." Their press release states: '“General Mills is basically dressing up a very cheap candy as if it were fruit and charging a premium for it,” said CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner. “General Mills is giving consumers the false impression that these products are somehow more wholesome, and charging more. It’s an elaborate hoax on parents who are trying to do right by their kids.”

So when you're packing up children's lunches this summer, pack real fruit. Save fruit snacks for dessert.

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