Food Police Charge Laura With Misleading Labels

Apr 02, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The Center for Science in the Public Interest says Laura’s Lean rib-eye and
strip steaks are not as lean as their labels claim.

Michael Jacobson, executive director of the center told The Courier-Journal
(Louisville, KY), “On average, the steaks contained more than twice as much
fat and saturated fat and 40 percent more calories than the company states.”

Laura Freeman, president and chief executive officer, Laura’s Lean Beef replied
to the charges, “The USDA has a very specific set of sample procedures” for
gathering nutritional data.

Federal graders at each plant identify carcasses by its fat content. “We have
records on every head of cattle processed during the time they were taking the
samples. Some of the cattle were judged ‘practically devoid’ of fat (18.5 percent),
some had ‘traces’ of fat (40.9 percent) and others were judged to have ‘slight
marbling’ (40.7 percent)”. The numbers, Ms. Freeman says, do not add up to high
fat content.

Moderator’s Comment: Has the government put sufficient
enough regulations in place that consumers should feel secure with the nutritional
information contained on food packaging?

It should be noted the CSPI doesn’t contend Laura’s Lean
Beef is anything but lean. It’s problem is that the labels are not accurate
based on their analysis. In our analysis, this essentially comes down to another
case of the CSPI making much ado about nothing. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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