A questionable cookie gets my nod for food identity thief of the month

Posted by
October 25, 2011

In a case of multiple food identity theft, I have found a product that is attempting to steal the identity of numerous foods such as oatmeal, milk, blueberries, fruit, spinach, cheese and carrot juice!

How could a solitary product engage in so much thievery, you may ask? Impossible as it may seem, this one item– a cookie no less — has managed to get my nomination for food identity thief of the month.

Without further ado, I present WhoNu? cookies, a line of refined, artificially flavored cookies which also contain hydrogenated oils (acknowledged by most everyone as a source of trans fats, a major contributor to heart disease) that claim they are as “nutrition rich” as oatmeal, milk, fruit and veggies. Who knew a cookie could be such a fake?

The WhoNu? cookie claim to fame, despite its less than high-integrity ingredient list, is that the cookie has been pumped up, so to speak, with a bunch of added vitamins and minerals. Apparently the folks at Suncore products believe that gives them the right to show pictures of fruit, vegetables and milk on the package, both front and back.

At the WhoNu? Website, Suncore claims it took “years of research” (really, folks) to come up with this product and that “now delicious is nutritious too!” To me, one of the worst parts of this whole WhoNu? nutrition scam are what consumers are saying. Comments I found at the product’s Facebook page include; “These are healthy treats for your kids with packed nutrition…they are great!” and “Here’s a snack that tastes Great – and is actually GOOD FOR YOU!!”

People, there are plenty of cookies out there that contain real nutrition. Personally, I love cookies. I eat them, I bake them and I have seen numerous cookies in the store that are made with oatmeal, fruit and whole grains, stuff that is good for you.

The WhoNu? scam has not gone unnoticed. A blog posted by a New York law firm asks that anyone who has “been harmed by WhoNu? Cookies” contact it, further noting that, “Even if WhoNu? cookies are indeed ‘nutrition rich,’ they nevertheless cause a concern that consumers will believe that eating these cookies is a substitute for drinking milk, carrot juice or tomato juice, or eating spinach, blueberries, oatmeal, and cottage cheese. Indeed, it is likely that consumers will believe that if 3 cookies are healthy, then 6 cookies or 9 cookies must be even healthier.”

Recalling a ‘Robot’ that was ahead of its time

In other food identity theft news, The Center for Science in the Public Interest has filed a lawsuit stating that General Mills made misleading comments to consumers concerning its Fruit Roll-Ups product. The complaint states that the product  “…lacked significant amounts of real natural fruit, and had no dietary fiber.”

Also, a recent ruling by a California federal judge has allowed the case brought by American sugar farmers against “Big Corn” to go forward. The lawsuit states that the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has engaged in false advertising. “As part of this effort the CRA has advertised that HFCS is ‘corn sugar,’ equated it with real sugar and called it natural – none of which is true,” the complaint states.

Last year the CRA submitted a petition asking the FDA to allow “corn sugar” to appear on food labels in place of HFCS. Not waiting for any response from the FDA, the CRA has gone ahead and engaged in a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to try and deceive folks and rebrand high fructose corn syrup so it becomes known as “corn sugar.”

There is still time to submit your comment to the FDA about this “corn sugar” name scam — and stay tuned for some interesting news about the comments sent into the agency about it.

All of this talk about food identity theft has put me in mind of my favorite TV shows as a kid, “Lost in Space.” It was a kitschy ’60s sci-fi drama revolving around the Robinson family and crew (including the first robot I had ever seen) attempting to return to Earth after a failed attempt to colonize a distant planet. On several occasions the Robinsons thought they had made it back to Earth, only to be tipped off by something not quite right about the planet they had landed on. On one episode I remember the family was positive they had made it home, only to be warned “danger, danger” when Robot sensed the food they were being offered was not real “earth-grown” food but a fake concoction made by aliens.

Robot, where are you today?

Items found in the supermarket yesterday that have removed or contain no HFCS and say so on the packaging: