by Jeff Sovern
Mark Bittman has an interesting column in today's Times, My Dream Food Label, describing how his ideal food label would use traffic lights--green, yellow, or red-- to signal qualities such as the healthfulness of the food. Though Bittman doesn't mention the health department restaurant grading system, which uses letter grades, it's a similar system. If Bittman's system were to go into effect and enough consumers were to pay attention to the grades, food manufacturers would probably want to attract their business and so could be expected to take steps to earn green lights, which should improve the heatlthfulness of food. Thus, all would benefit, even those who don't pay attention to the grades.