Bernie wants black labels on ‘unhealthy’ sodas and snacks – so children will understand

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is gunning for Americans’ sodas and snacks in a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asking that warning labels be placed on them.

He wants so-called “unhealthy foods” to be labeled so it will alert consumers that they could get type 2 diabetes or become obese from their favorite drinks, desserts, and snacks. The move could potentially raise prices on items as well.

“Sanders wrote to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf earlier this month in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to ask for the agency’s implementation of ‘strong front-of-package labels so that all consumers, especially children, can understand which products are harmful to their health,'” the Washington Examiner reported.

“Sanders did not specify what design the labels should have, but in his letter to Califf, he supported designs similar to those in several Latin American countries that have been proposed by the Pan American Health Organization. These stop-sign-shaped labels are intended to inform consumers that certain products contain high amounts of salt, saturated fats, sugar, and calories,” the media outlet noted.

Source: Pan American Health Organization

The labels would have a high probability of being black since that is what other countries employ. It’s also what the World Health Organization is pushing.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 20% of children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19, or 14.7 million people, are medically obese. Nearly 42% of adults over age 20 are obese, with over 9% being severely obese,” the Washington Examiner wrote.

The CDC has not collected data on obesity since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

“The FDA can and must do more to ensure that Americans, especially children, teens, and their parents, understand the health risks associated with the consumption of these unhealthy and ultra-processed foods,” Sanders declared in his letter. “Other major countries around the world have moved forward aggressively in this area and there is no reason as to why the United States is lagging so far behind.”

The socialist Senator referred to a number of Latin American countries, such as Chile, Uruguay, and Peru. Those countries utilize black octagonal warning labels highlighting the high percentage of unhealthy chemicals in foods and beverages.

According to the Washington Examiner, “Academic studies from Chile’s implementation of the food labeling policy indicate that the policy greatly expedited the downward trend in purchasing unhealthy foods and the marketing of unhealthy foods to children. Researchers, however, were not fully able to disentangle the effects of the labeling policy from other healthy food policies implemented in Chile at the same time, including changes in school lunch programs.”

Sanders admitted to the FDA that labels may not be enough to keep Americans from indulging in unhealthy beverages and foods. He pointed to warning labels on tobacco products that warn of a link to cancer. Many ignore those warnings.

The Vermont senator was very clear on what he wants done:

In my view, we need strong front-of-package labels so that all consumers, especially children, can understand which products are harmful to their health. Tobacco labels in the United States do not say ‘high in tar, high in nicotine, high in carcinogens.’ They say ‘cigarettes cause cancer.

Today, one out of every five children and over 40 percent of adults in our country are obese. Equally as alarming, more than 10 percent of people in the United States have type-two diabetes. According to a recent study, ultra-processed foods now make up an incredible 73 percent of our nation’s food supply and can be as addictive as alcohol and nearly as addictive as cigarettes. It is estimated that, if the United States does not change course, the number of children with type-2 diabetes will increase by 700 percent over the next 40 years.

The senator went on to inform Califf that the HELP Committee would be holding a hearing on the FDA’s role in the healthy foods market. He intimated that Califf would be called to testify before the committee.

“The HELP Committee will be holding a hearing in the near future to discuss what the FDA can do to fulfill its mission to protect and advance the public health by ensuring that the food and beverages Americans are consuming are not harming them,” Sanders told Califf. “I look forward to your testimony at this hearing.”


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