New food labels:
■ New travel rules
■ Fuel economy
the Smart Choice?
HEALTH ADVOCATES are Fighting Back! against
widespread obesity rates by targeting poor eating
habits and lazy exercise patterns. To help improve
food choices, here comes the new Smart Choices
food-label program, created by a group of scientists, academicians, health and research organizations, food and beverage manufacturers and
The new labels include a green checkmark and
the Smart Choices Program logo to designate foods
that meet certain nutritional requirements, as well as
information about the number of calories per serving and the number of servings per container.
Starting in 2009, the labels will be on products
from food and beverage companies such as Kraft
Foods, General Mills, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
Categories include desserts, snacks, cereals, beverages,
entrées, sandwiches and other dishes, such as pizza.
The goal of the program, which was introduced
at the American Dietetic Association’s Food and
Nutrition Conference, is to take the guesswork out of
food choices, enabling people to make smarter food
decisions and thus improve public health.
In reality, healthier and more economical—and
often faster-to-prepare—meals can be made from
fresh ingredients at home.
• Also, in 2007, the state of New York enacted the
New York State Airline Passenger Bill of Rights,
which required airlines to provide fresh air, waste
removal and adequate food and water for passengers
on flights delayed by more than three hours.
Although the law was struck down by a federal
appeals court, that decision has been appealed, and it
may become law in 2009 or later.
ON SEPTEMBER 6 I special-ordered window coverings
from [a national retailer] and
was verbally told to expect
them in 17 days, but nothing
arrived. I checked my contract, which gave an estimated date of October 13.
Now it’s November, and still
no blinds. What do I do?
New travel rules
If traveling is in your future, you might be interested in new rules that could make or break your
travel plans starting this month.
• All U.S. citizens entering the United States at
sea or land ports of entry must have a passport, passport card or Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative–
• Airlines must quote a total price for tickets.
The European Parliament has approved new rules
requiring airlines to include all taxes, fees, charges
and surcharges known at the time of publication,
such as those related to security or fuel, in the basic
advertised ticket price.
Stanley Gyoshev, a co-founder of the travel site
Lessno.com, one of the key proponents of the change,
says American air carriers may have no choice but to
adopt these transparency rules, too. “Since major
international airlines are selling tickets in Europe,
they will need to comply with the European Union
regulations,” says Gyoshev. “Since they need to make
consumer-friendly changes to their European Web
sites and advertising, we are hoping there will be
some carry-over to the U.S. sites.”
Figuring out fuel economy
Want to know about a new vehicle’s fuel economy? Check out the Fuel Economy Guide from the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S.
Department of Energy. It provides fuel-cost estimates for every passenger vehicle produced since 1985 to help car buyers
choose the most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets their needs.
The estimates are based on the
assumption of traveling 15,000 miles
per year ( 55 percent city, 45 percent
highway). However, the estimates
were based on fuel prices of
$4.10 per gallon for regular
unleaded gasoline and $4.30
per gallon for premium.
Cost-per-gallon assumptions for vehicles that use
other fuel types are discussed at the beginning
of those vehicle sections.
Even though at press
time fuel costs were
dropping due to market
conditions, you can calculate your annual fuel
costs by logging on to
selecting your vehicle
and its year, and personalizing current fuel prices
in your area and your
own driving habits. C
AMY CAN TRELL
David Horowitz is a leading consumer advocate.
His “Fight Back!” commentaries are heard daily on
the Dial-Global Radio Networks. For stations and
times, check the radio page at www.fightback.com.
© 2009 FIGH T BACK! INC. ALL RIGH TS RESERVED.
are usually manufactured
through outside companies,
and the retailer cannot pre-
dict or control the manufac-
turing or delivery dates.
Accepting a verbal delivery
date was a mistake, but the
written estimated date
doesn’t help much, either.
Before you do anything, read
your sales slip carefully to
see if it says they cannot
guarantee a delivery
date. If so, you have
little recourse but
If the contract
doesn’t have that
with the store
manager, in per-
son. He or she
should check with the
factory to confirm com-
pletion and shipping of
the order, and get it in
writing. If they can’t
guarantee a delivery
deadline, ask for a refund.
If the manager refuses,
you might have leverage if
you paid with a bank credit
card. If so, file a complaint
about non-delivery and have
the credit-card company
intervene to reverse the
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