The FDA is planning Experimental Studies on Consumer Responses to Nutrient Content Claims on Fortified Food - that means they want to find out whether fortifying snack foods with vitamins and noting its nutritional content on labels would convince people to swap out regular old junk food with a slightly less unhealthy form of junk food.

Your 'federal family' at work, supposedly to protect you, again?

No, this is about changing a 20 year old rule regarding labels on foods that have been modified to be a little healthier. These nutritionally modified foods might have labels that say something like 'As much Vitamin C as a serving of orange juice' and have added Vitamin C - I already feel better about my Sugar Frosted Chocolate Bombs knowing they are vitamin fortified.

But it won't matter unless a whole bunch of people among the 7,500 questionnaired agree. Why would the FDA modify its old policy, the jelly bean rule, which says you can't promote junk food as healthy by adding some vitamins and saying it can qualify to be used in school lunches? Elaine Watson at Food Navigator cites Marion Nestle, Professor in Sociology and in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, who never found a Big Food conspiracy she didn't like, who alleges that Big Sugar Frosted Chocolate Bomb is pressuring the FDA to make 'vitamin fortified junk food' possible.

And here you thought government was anti-business. Because it is. But to some, it is not anti-business enough. In reality, industry has wanted to get rid of the jelly bean rule since it was implemented for the same reason a reasonable court in 2013 threw out New York City's attempt to micromanage Big Gulps - it was arbitrary and capricious and lacked an evidence basis. What's so special about 10 percent or more of the Daily Value of one of six nutrients? Not much, but after the FDA insisted it needed control over labels, and then got that power in 1990, they had to use it do something.

But are not lots of 'healthy' foods under 10 percent of the daily value of those nonsensically chosen six vitamins?  Sure, many fruits and vegetables - and bread was a 'jelly bean' under that rule. So they immediately had to fix it to exempt bread, grain and fruits and vegetables, which shows they didn't know what they were doing in the first place. We can put the most optimistic face on it and hope the FDA is trying to enter the 21st century - simple rules may not apply.

But Nestle notes one thing we all agree on:
Plenty of research demonstrates that nutrients sell food products. Any health or health-like claim on a food product—vitamins added, no trans fats, organic—makes people believe that the product has fewer calories and is a health food.

As I keep saying, added vitamins are about marketing, not health.
Though so are adding labels.

The comment period ends in 18 days, so if you have something to add, go here.