Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Have you seen the FDA's new 'superhero', Labelman? That's Labelman at the right. Go to the official site here. Wow. On the one hand I appreciate the importance of making sure nutritional labels are readily understood by everyone. But on the flip side, a couple things about the initiative bother me.

First, is it necessary to brand the effort with a 'superhero' like Labelman? Is that really making it more fun for people to learn the meaning behind %DV? I wonder how much the design of Labelman cost the taxpayers. I should let an expert like Dianne weigh in on the Labelman design. Personally, I find it only marginally better than my M&M character and about as fun and informative as the reconfigured nutritional pyramid. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since this is coming from the same government that put out Woodsy Owl ("...a whimsical fellow and he's got his heart set on motivating kids..."). Incidentally, remember the fate of Woodsy Owl costumes before you make a Labelman costume.

Second, as brought out in the Washington Post article that pointed me to the Labelman site, I question the impact this site will have on people that have trouble understanding nutritional labels. What percent of those folks have ready internet access? Of those, what fraction will take the time to go to the FDA site and work their way through the Flash modules or study the PDFs? If my recent comments about reading apply in this situation, I don't think this effort is helping many people.

Let me know if I'm way off base. There has to be a better way to educate folks. Any ideas? Perhaps the FDA should set up an educational facility in Second Life. I'll bet that would reach more people than the Labelman site.


~Carla~ said...

he looks kinda scary! can get get him to represent us on our drug labels???? :)

Erika said...

Too bad the labels can't just say "don't eat this, it's bad for your health!" then I would understand it!