Think that’s ACTUAL fruit in your cereal? How food companies replace the real deal with ‘imposter’ sugar balls and soybean oil 1

  • Consumer watchdogs warn lebals are fooling  us with high-sugar ‘fruit imposters’ inside packaging promising ‘real fruit,  full of vitamins’
  • The FDA permits labels to say ‘real fruit’  as long as the word ‘flavoured’ also appears on the  packaging

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:12:41 EST, 14  November 2012| UPDATED:18:15 EST, 14 November 2012

When consumers see a picture of fresh berries  on a cereal box, yogurt tub, and other food packaging, they are lead to believe  they are buying ‘real berry pieces  inside.’

But food experts have pointed out that the  ‘fruit’ many companies claim on their packaging is actually just balls of sugar  and soybean oil, mixed with tiny bits of dried fruit.

Consumer watchdogs warn that some of biggest  food companies are fooling us with unhealthy and high-sugar ‘fruit  imposters’ inside labels promising  ‘real fruit, full of  vitamins’.

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How real? Food experts warn that the 'real fruit' many companies claim on their packaging is actually just balls of sugar and soybean oil, mixed with tiny bits of dried fruit

How real? Food experts warn that the ‘real fruit’ many  companies claim on their packaging is actually just balls of sugar and soybean  oil, mixed with tiny bits of dried fruit

An example is Special K Fruit and Yogurt  cereal, with fresh berries on the front of the box.

Michael Jacobson, the head of the Center for  Science in the Public Interest, a consumer watchdog group, told Today it actually contains ‘no berries  whatsoever’.

Mr Jacobson explained that these berry  ‘imposters’ are in a lot of foods, like blueberry Eggos and Aunt Jemima’s  Blueberry Pancakes.

While the label proclaims ‘made with real  blueberries,’ it  actually contains ‘blueberry bits’ which  are blue chucks shaped into balls made from ‘mostly sugar and soybean oil, then  little bits of real blueberry that’s been artificially colored.’

Today’s National Investigative  Correspondent  Jeff RossenIf said: ‘If the companies were in this room,  they would say: “Look,  we’re printing the ingredients on the label. No  misleading advertising  here”‘

False advertising: Consumer watchdogs say that some of biggest food companies are fooling us with unhealthy and high-sugar 'fruit imposters' inside labels promising 'real fruit, full of vitamins'

False advertising: Consumer watchdogs say that some of  biggest food companies are fooling us with unhealthy and high-sugar ‘fruit  imposters’ inside labels promising ‘real fruit, full of vitamins’

Fresh fruit: Some food companies said the real fruit on the package is meant as a serving suggestion, which is disclosed in small print

Fresh fruit: Some food companies said the real fruit on  the package is meant as a serving suggestion, which is disclosed in small  print

Fruity breakfast: While the label proclaims 'made with real blueberries,' it actually contains 'blueberry bits' which are blue chucks shaped into balls made from sugar and soybean oil, with little bits of blueberry that is artificially colored

Fruity breakfast: The label proclaims ‘made with real  blueberries,’ but it actually contains ‘blueberry bits’ shaped into balls made  from sugar and soybean oil, with little bits of blueberry that is artificially  colored

But Mr Jacobsen disagreed: ‘You can’t deceive  people in big print and pictures on the front of the label, and then give the  correct answers on the back of the label,’

One shopper said: ‘I think they’re duping  people. It’s complete false advertising.’

The Food and Drug Administration, which  oversees such labeling, told Today that it ‘supports laws requiring labels to be  truthful and non-misleading,’ and these labels ‘are permitted’ under FDA  regulations as long as the word ‘flavored’ is also printed.

Nutritionist Joy Bauer explained:  ‘If you see the word “flavored,” either  natural or artificial, it could be a red flag that there’s actually no fruit  within that product.’

‘The Food and Drug Administration is asleep  at the wheel. It rarely brings  complaints against these companies, said Mr  Jacobsen, whose own group is suing Coca-Cola, which owns vitaminwater  because ‘there aren’t any strawberries  and there aren’t any kiwis in there,’

Read the back: The FDA says it is consumers' responsibility to read the entire label, not just the front

Read the back: The FDA says it is consumers’  responsibility to read the entire label, not just the front

‘I suspect the FDA doesn’t want to tangle  with big companies who could keep them tied up in court for years… [But] that bottle contains almost as much sugar  as a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola.

‘Companies are gonna make a lot more money if they can  imply that there are berries in the product, but not put them there. They’re  saving a lot of money, but they’re cheating consumers.’

Mr RossenIf added: ‘The  food companies told us some of that real fruit on the package is meant as a  serving suggestion, and is disclosed in small print.

‘The FDA says it does inspect labels, and  it’s cracking down on companies that break the law. The agency told us it’s your  responsibility to read the entire label, not just the front.’

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