My first Stossel TV fellow, Trevor Krauss, started this column.
our video The version is called “Freshly Censored: Why We Can’t Put ‘Low FODMAP’ on Food Labels.”
Kraus reports that strict government regulations prevent food producers from providing information about useful foods, such as low-FODMAP foods.
FODMAP is an acronym for sugars found in garlic, onions, apples, honey, and many other foods. Many Americans have an intolerance to FODMAPs. For a few people, it can be fatal.
Ketan Bakir, who is FODMAP intolerant himself, has started a company that sells low-FODMAP foods such as bone broth, chive salt, and green onion powder. These are all reduced in ingredients that can cause stomach problems. (Related: John Stossel: Rand Paul sheds light on government deception during coronavirus pandemic)
“We decided to replace these ingredients with other ingredients that taste good but don’t cause stomach symptoms,” says Vakil. “We just use the top green part of the green onion. It tastes like an onion. It’s not exactly the same taste, but it’s really similar. That part of the plant is low in FODMAPs.”
But foolishly, the government won’t allow him to say “low FODMAP” on the label.
It’s not because Vakil lies about its ingredients or their usefulness. He’s right when he says his label has “scientific support recognized by the medical community.”
Doctors agree that FODMAPs are a problem for some people, causing cramps, diarrhea, and bloating. Many people will be saved by choosing low FODMAP products.
But the government still won’t allow Bakir to say “low FODMAP” on his labels.
“We had to remove all the words that help shoppers find products on their own, such as the low-FODMAP certification symbol, ‘gut-friendly,’” Bakir says.
The government hasn’t actually “banned” these words. They just don’t allow it because they’re not yet on the government’s approved list.
So Justin Pearson, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm, is assisting Bakir in his government case.
“Everyone agrees that Ketan is telling the truth,” Pearson points out. “The government is only banning it because it’s not on the old pre-approval list.”
Some of the approved terms may not seem very scientific or specific.
Ambiguous labels such as “homestyle” or “delicious” are approved. However, the more convenient term “low FODMAP” is not available.
Finding the “approved” list is also not easy. It is scattered across several government websites.Klaus took hours just to compile Partial List of approved ones.
“How do you get on that list?” Klaus asks Pearson.
“There’s a lot of money,” Pearson said, sarcastically referring to the years of legal and lobbying required to get the USDA and Food and Drug Administration to agree to the language changes.
Does the government ever update the list?
“No,” Pearson says. “Why would they do that? Federal agencies don’t react to the market. Only corporations can do that.”
Of course, some companies make meaningless and deceptive claims. “Our job is to ensure that consumers have access to new information that is accurate and useful,” says the director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety.
Are you okay.But in this case, the bureaucracy prohibit Useful new information! (Related: Daniel Turner: Hold your wallet tight when politicians say they use ‘science’ to make policy)
“It’s very difficult to get a product out there,” Bakir says. “It’s very frustrating not being able to explain to our customers exactly what we founded the company for. Legislation that’s been on the books for years hurts my customers.”
Many people suffer from digestive problems. They don’t want to wait for vendors like Vakil to slog through lengthy government approval processes.
Mr Pearson said: If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you to. ”
Vakil doesn’t want to wait to help people. “I don’t want to solve the problem for them in eight years. I want to solve it for them tomorrow.”
If Bakir and Pearson win their case, their lives could be improved not only by people who have trouble digesting garlic and onions, but also by future diets we don’t even know about. Things will be completely different for people.
Mr. Stossel posts a new video every Tuesday on JohnStossel.com about the battle between government and freedom. He is the author of “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Scammers, Fraudsters, Fraudsters and the Liberal Media’s Scourge”.
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