25 Years of Food Follies: 1987-2012

We're looking back at oddball food trends and nutritional nonsense. By: Jenny Everett

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Nutrition numbers serving size: 109 words
Illustration: Gail Anderson and Joe Newton

2009 | Nutrition numbers serving size: 109 words

Big food companies team with academics to devise Smart Choices, a nutrition label designed to get simpler, clearer info on the front of packages. (The longer Nutrition Facts panel on the back was mandated by law in 1990.) Even Michael Jacobson—whose Center for Science in the Public Interest is the nation's leading nutrition-activism gadfly—is initially on board but quits amid controversy over the kinds of foods that are being labeled smart. The FDA finds the labels confusing, too, and a Tufts University nutrition dean ends up making an egg-on-face explanation to The New York Times about why sugary cereals got the Smart Choices nod.

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