Food claims on packaging are manufacturers consumer bait. They use a variety of claims to get consumers to purchase their products. Many claims focus on nutritional aspects of a product, drawing attention to the fact that it is low in calories, sugar, or fat. Always evaluate food claims on packaging with a critical eye. Food manufacturers often make misleading claims about food products to make them sound healthier than they actually are.
A candy made almost entirely out of sugar may be advertised as being “fat free” while a bag of corn chips loaded with saturated fat, sodium, and extra calories may proclaim that it has almost no sugar. Some nutrition-related terms, such as “low fat,” are strictly regulated by the FDA and have a set meaning, while others, such as “natural,” can be used in almost any situation.
Other food claims on packaging provide information about the conditions in which the food is grown or raised. These claims may focus on the absence of antibiotics or harmful chemicals used during farming, the environmental impact of farming practices, whether the business model justly compensates farmers and workers, the living conditions of farmed animals, or a combination of these factors.
In many cases, these conditions may work together naturally: A farm that operates without pesticides may add fewer toxins to nearby rivers, while also causing less harm to the environment and its laborers.
Be aware of the definition of the following food-label phrases and terms to be a more knowledgeable and responsible consumer.
Why do we care about this at Blu Radical Apothecary? We always try to serve our community with solid knowledge on living a healthier and more natural lifestyle. Food is medicine. Regardless on if one takes a million herbs, it will never cancel out a diet that is unrefined and full of toxins. Take back your knowledge in an otherwise colonized world.
Food Claims On Packaging
Enriched: The replacement of nutrients in a product that may have been lost during processing; for example, bread may be enriched with iron, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin. The nutrients added during enrichment usually replace only a small portion of the nutrients removed by processing.
Fortified: The addition of vitamins and minerals that were not originally present in a food product; for example, orange juice may be fortified with calcium.
Light: food that is labeled “light” meets the definition for “low calorie” or “low fat.” “Light in sodium” means the sodium content has been reduced by at least 50%. In some cases, ""light” may refer to the color or texture of a food rather than to low quantities of sodium, fat, or calories; in these cases, the food will be specifically labeled to this effect.
Low-calorie: Food that has fewer than 40 calories per serving and less than 0.4 calorie per gram.
Low-fat: Food that has 3 grams or fewer of fat per serving. Food manufacturers sometimes add large amounts of sugar to low-fat foods to compensate for the taste.
Low-sodium: Food that has 140 mg or less of sodium per serving; food labeled as “very low sodium” has 35 mg or less per serving.
Natural: Meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” have no artificial ingredients and are minimally processed. For other types of food, the term may be used without any specific requirements (and thus has little guaranteed mean-ing). “Natural” does not mean nutritious; many foods labeled as natural are highly processed, high in fat or sugar, or loaded with preservatives.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): The estimated amount of various nutrients needed each day to maintain good health. The guidelines were developed to address dietary needs for large populations; individual needs may vary owing to genetic, personal, and demographic factors.
Reduced: A food that has at least 25% less of a given charac-teristic (such as calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, or sugar) than a regular preparation of a given product. The product label must display the nutritional comparison.
Sugarless and sugar-free: Contains less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving.
Cage-free: Poultry and egg products with this label are farmed in a common area with unlimited access to food and water. Caged birds often live their lives in a small cage with several other birds; “cage-free” birds may still live in crowded conditions but at least have the freedom to move around.
Fair Trade: Foods with the Fair Trade logo are grown on farms that meet set standards for farmer’s compensation and working conditions. Some products without this label, such as chocolate, coffee, or sugar, are often produced in condi-tions where laborers and farmers work in dangerous condi-tions and receive little of the products’ net profit.
Free-range: Farmers may label poultry and egg products as “free-range” if the birds have access to the outdoors. Because of the flexibility of this definition, conditions found on differ-ent “free-range” farms may vary widely, from a crowded pen where thousands of chickens share access to a single ledge, to an open farm where animals can roam freely.
Grass-fed: Beef, lamb, and other animal meat with this label come from animals that get most of their nutrients from grass, rather than from grain. Grass-based diets are more nat-ural and healthy for cows and sheep than grain-based diets. Grass-fed meat may also be more nutritious, environmen-tally friendly, and less likely to contain harmful bacteria than grain-fed meat.
Humane, or humanely raised: This term implies that farm ani-mals are raised within certain basic living standards. It may refer to an animal’s shelter, access to food and water, or the absence of hormones and antibiotics used to raise ani-mals. In the absence of a standard definition, what this label means often varies from company to company.
Locally grown or raised: Food that is either grown or raised within a certain distance of where it is sold, often within the same or a neighboring state. Locally grown food supports local agriculture and reduces the greenhouse gases needed for transportation. Food referred to as regionally grown or raised may be produced at a slightly farther, but relatively moderate, distance.
Organic: Food produced using renewable resources and without traditional pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Animals that produce organic products, meat, and eggs receive no antibiotics (which helps to reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria) or growth hormones. Organically grown food may be marginally more nutritious than convention-ally grown food, but the extent of this difference is still being researched.
Pasture-raised: Pasture-raised animals live and grow up on open grazing fields, with a diet focusing on grass, rather than grain.
Sustainable: A method of raising food that does not cause lasting harm to the environment, provides just compensation for farmers and workers, and uses a variety of plant and animal species.
As with anything, do research on what these food claims really mean. Marketing jargon is not going anywhere and with that, they will always be coming out with new and compelling ways to pull us consumers in. Hmm, if only they'd actually sell real foods "light-bulb".