Many of us are watching what we eat these days. Whether we are on a diet to lose a few pounds, have become vegans or buy products that are less stressful on the earth we are looking at things on the shelves a little differently. We still need to watch out for marketing tricks and bad products.
Organic food has become a big seller and I don't think there is a product out there that does not exist in organic format these days. A recent recall in Canada of organic baby food that went rancid is a testament to the fact that we buy what we believe is better based on the label. All food products have a risk of contamination where handling practices are inadequate. Another thing to note is that nobody advertises their food products on safety or a no contamination guarantee.
Advertising and food labels lead us to believe many things about a product. Many phrases such as "Trans fat free" and "natural" are tossed about but without any definition of what they really mean and how they benefit you. Many product lines exist that cater to a low this-or-that diet while adding something else. Read this article by Leslie Beck, titled Low fat-but with 14 grams of sugar, which provides a great summary of what is going on in the grocery aisles.
Finally, in the U.K. a parliamentary committee has suggested banning all artificial coloring in food and soft drinks. In my opinion, the most important reason is this quote from the article in the Guardian that says about food additives: "...studies suggest [they] may over-stimulate children's brains and make them hyperactive" Food companies, along with everyone else selling anything, target children. How else can you explain children who can't read begging parents to buy products they've never had before? The colorful packaging is the start. Food additives and composition are designed to stimulate certain areas of the brain to have positive experiences related to the food so we buy more, hence the repeat nag and buy. Many food products have additives so imagine the cumulative impact on a child's brain and behavior with all the foods designed for kids.
At the end of the day it is buyer beware as usual. We have the ability to access information and educate ourselves to make the right choices. Don't expect anybody to do the right thing. You have to vote with your feet and your wallet.