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Study: Many Food Labels Deceptive

When you buy something with blueberries, you expect to get a powerful little fruit packed with nutrients. But a consumer watchdog group says some blueberries aren't what they're cracked up to be.

On "The Early Show," Consumer Correspondent Susan Koeppen explained, "Just because you see blueberries on the box does not mean there are blueberries in the box."

Koeppen noted Americans consume more than 450 million pounds of blueberries each year. Blueberries, Koeppen said, contain Vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber.

Registered dietitian Diane Henderiks, of the website Dietitian in the Kitchen, said, "It's a great little fruit."

Blueberries, Koeppen noted, are making a big splash in supermarket aisles. Just last year, more than a 1,000 new blueberry food items were introduced to the U.S. market.

Henderiks said, "Knowing how healthful they are, it's a great marketing tool, but hopefully there are blueberries in the packaging you're getting!"

According to a recent study, the answer may be not too many. The Consumer Wellness Center, a non-profit consumer group, analyzed several products with blueberries on the packaging and found many of them contain few to no blueberries at all.

Koeppen walked the aisles of a grocery store, reading labels with Henderiks.

Koeppen, a box of Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats Blueberry Muffin in hand, asked, "Do you think people look at this box with the blueberries on the front and say, 'I'm going to get a serving of blueberries?"'

Henderiks said, "Absolutely, I think they think they are going to get a serving of fruits in whatever cereal this is.

But instead of blueberries, the Frosted Mini Wheats Blueberry Muffin cereal lists "blueberry flavored crunchlets" on the nutrition label.

Koeppen asked, "So reading through all the ingredients you do not see any actual blueberries?"

Henderiks replied, "No, I do not."

Michael Jacobson, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest Consumers, told CBS News, "Consumers are cheated. Sometimes monetarily. Sometimes out of nutrition."

Jacobson says the lack of real blueberries in some products is just the tip of the iceberg.

He told CBS News, "There are literally hundreds of deceptively labeled foods in the supermarket."

Nutrition experts say, if you really want blueberries in your food, do it the old fashioned way: Just add them yourself.

Koeppen said General Mills and Kellogg's, who make some of the products mentioned in the study, say that all their products are clearly labeled and list whether or not they contain blueberries.

Koeppen added the Food and Drug Administration will go after companies if they use deceptive labeling.

"We talked to them yesterday," Koeppen said. "They said they can neither confirm nor deny that they're looking into the fake blueberry issue. But yes, if there is something that is deceptive, the FDA sometimes steps in and makes those companies change their labels."