Mark Bittman’s Dream Food Label (and mine)

I just read this op-ed by Mark Bittman, whom I love, and wanted to share with you all.  Mark came up with an ideal food label (sample pictured below) that gives a really good and easy to read look at what is in our food.  It’s based on the red, yellow and green lights that dictate traffic and each of these “lights” range from 0-5 points for three different categories, totalling to 15 points.  For a better explanation, from the op-ed, here is Mark’s explanation of the label:

We arrive at the score by rating three key factors, each of which comprises numerous subfactors. The first is the obvious “Nutrition,” about which little needs to be said. High sugar, trans fats, the presence of micronutrients and fiber, and so on would all be taken into account. Thus soda would rate a zero and frozen broccoli might rate a five. (It’s hard to imagine labeling fresh vegetables.)

The second is “Foodness.” This assesses just how close the product is to real food. White bread made with bleached flour, yeast conditioners and preservatives would get a zero or one; so would soda; a candy bar high in sugar but made with real ingredients would presumably score low on nutrition but could get a higher score on “foodness”; here, frozen broccoli would rate a four.

The third is the broadest (and trickiest); we’re calling it “Welfare.” This would include the treatment of workers, animals and the earth. Are workers treated like animals? Are animals produced like widgets? Is environmental damage significant? If the answer to those three questions is “yes” — as it might be, for example, with industrially produced chickens — then the score would be zero, or close to it. If the labor force is treated fairly and animals well, and waste is insignificant or recycled, the score would be higher.


I think this is a fantastic way to get people to eat healthier. At the very least, it’s an easy way to make people think about the food they are putting into their bodies. Very often people look at the nutrition data on the packaging of foods and do not understand the numbers and percentages and serving sizes (aaahh!! I hate math!!).  They don’t know how much they should be consuming of the product, so they wind up overeating because the education is lacking. Our nutritional data as it is now should come with instructions so people can figure out what they mean.  This new label makes it super easy to understand if it’s good to eat or not.  My personal favorite part of this, is taking into account the welfare of the animals (if animal products are included in the food) AND the workers! This is not brought up often, I think we tend to hear more about the treatment of animals in this country, but treatment of the workers is extremely important. The employees of the manufacturers of our food must be cared for and made happy. If they aren’t treated well, the products (our food) will, in some way or another, show the lack of care and neglect. I am so happy it is taken into account in this new label.

This is certainly a step in the right direction for developing a stronger stance on food-related diseases that are increasingly on the rise.  So, what are we waiting for?  I agree with Mark Bittman and say let’s get this veggie-friendly, healthy party started!!

Happy Friday everyone!!  Love to you all!

PS – Don’t forget!  Tomorrow is the last day to enter the END ILLNESS TODAY GIVEAWAY!   Don’t miss out on the opportunity to win Dr. Agus’ acclaimed and brilliant book on disease prevention and the future of medicine.  Simply Tweet: “WIN End of Illness by @davidagus from @thefoodyogi. Rules:, Ends 10/20.”  OR go to Facebook, LIKE The Food Yogi and share the post about the giveaway.

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