NPR reports today that Frito-Lay has rolled out a slightly reformulated version of its popular Flamin’ Hot Cheetos that qualify the spicy orange sticks as a “Smart Snack” under revised federal nutrition guidelines for schools.
New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle told NPR she’s not surprised. “If you set up nutrition standards,” she said, “the food industry can do anything to meet those standards, and this is a perfect example of that. So this is a ‘better-for-you’ junk food and, of course, the question is, is that a good choice? And no, of course, it’s not.”
In other words, the government decides to set up nutrition standards, snack makers do what they have to do to meet those standards, and then the government complains that that’s not what they had in mind. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos a “Smart Snack”? Take it up with FLOTUS.
“I thought the top sellers might be things that had more nutrients in them than Flamin’ Hot Cheetos,” confessed Virginia Stallings, who chaired the committee that helped formulate the federal rules.