It’s no secret that I am adamantly against processed food products that make health claims. And my post about added pro-biotics in yogurt still gets numerous hits each day, which makes me think that this is an issue that confuses the average consumer.
Health and nutrition are hot topics, and large food processors have figured out that anything with an aura of health around it sells better. This phenomenon is actually called the “health halo” or “health aura”, and stems from the fact that people will eat (and by extension, purchase) more of a product that they believe to be healthful. This leads to additional health problems as consumers end up taking in greater numbers of calories, fat, sugar and salt, defeating any impression of healthfulness the food might have had.
Currently, labelling laws in Canada prohibit a great number of these products from being fortified with unnecessary vitamins, and also prohibit those same companies from making health claims. Manufacturers, hoping to target a health-oriented society by fortifying products that are essentially junk food, are pushing Health Canada to speed up the decision-making process that would see these fortified products, emblazoned with health claims, on supermarket shelves.