July 28, 2011
Washington, DC–The National Consumers League (NCL) today sent a letter to Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), calling on her agency to review the misleading nutrition facts labeling of David Sunflower Seed products, manufactured by ConAgra Foods, Inc.
“The David Sunflower Seed nutrition panel is terribly misleading,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “The sodium listed is for the kernels only – not for the whole seed. But the back of the package instructs consumers to put the whole seed in their mouth, and in the process, they consume far more sodium than indicated on the panel.”
The fine print on the package, tucked below the list of ingredients, makes clear that when calculating the salt content of both the seed and the shell, the sodium count rises 833% to 1260mg of sodium per serving. A 5.25-ounce bag has 2.5 servings. Consuming a single 5.25 bag would mean a sodium intake of 3,150 mg. Current dietary guidelines recommend that healthy adults should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Thus, consuming a single 5.25-ounce bag of sunflower seeds would put one’s sodium intake at 850 mg over the recommended daily amounts.
NCL’s letter asks the agency to require the company to indicate a far higher content than is currently listed for sodium and to do so in the place where consumers expect to find it.
“These David Sunflower seeds, when consumed in the way the package recommends, are loaded with sodium. Excessive sodium intake is a leading cause of hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension, in turn, greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two out of three (66%) adults in the United States are at especially high risk for health problems from too much sodium – three groups in particular are at risk: those over 40 years old, African Americans and those with high blood pressure. CDC recommends eating less sodium as a means of preventing, lowering or controlling blood pressure.
“With so many Americans suffering from hypertension or pre-hypertension, we need clear and accurate labeling of products so consumers can make healthy choices. We call on the FDA to require that David Sunflower Seed packages indicate clearly – in the place where consumers expect to find it - the sodium content in the seeds and not simply in the kernel.”
Click here to view NCL’s letter to the FDA.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad