a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

More Food Labels: What Do They Really Mean

It is not safe to assume that all claims on all product labels are entirely accurate ---
many are intentionally misleading and unfortunately, some are downright false!

In my last post I used two different government guidelines to help us distinguish between a variety of terms --- including free, light, low, reduced and less.

Today I am continuing with more ambiguous terms and how our government defines them. 

Hopefully they give us some general guidelines but, after reading the terms and their USDA and FDA definitions, I looked up ambiguous* in Webster's Dictionary. I think the word I chose to use is, for the most part, the correct one:  
               *not clear, indefinite, uncertain and vague. 

FRESH: Raw of unprocessed, has never been frozen or cooked, and contains no preservatives. "Fresh frozen," "frozen fresh" and "freshly frozen" can be used for foods that are quickly frozen while still fresh. Foods that have been blanched briefly in scalding water to prevent nutrient breakdown are allowed to be called fresh.

ORGANIC (also CERTIFIED ORGANIC or  USDA ORGANIC): Regulated by the USDA, contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients --- meaning grown or produced without using most conventional pesticides---not counting added water and salt. Does not contain added sulfites.

LEAN & EXTRA-LEAN: Both refer to the fat content of meat, poultry, seafood, and game. Per serving (100 g), "lean" foods contain less than 10 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, and 95 mg cholesterol. "Extra-lean" foods contain less than 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, and 95 mg cholesterol.

HEALTHY: Low in fat and saturated fat, with limited cholesterol and sodium; can also mean a food contains 10 percent or more of vitamins A or C, iron, calcium, protein, or fiber.

WHOLE GRAIN: For some reason this is not regulated by the FDA. Whole-grain products are made with the entire grain, including the fiber-rich bran and nutrient-rich germ. For example bread labeled "wheat bread" or even "100% wheat bread" (see the tricky difference) is different from WHOLE-GRAIN wheat bread.

DIET: Another term not recognized by the FDA as a general food term. In regard to soft drinks, it is defined as something low in calories. (usually contains a lot of artificial chemical additives in the place of calories)

NATURAL: Defined by the USDA as meat or poultry containing no artificial ingredients or added color and that is only minimally processed. (Nothing is said about "natural" as it is used in many other food products!)

FREE RANGE or FREE-ROAMING: Defined by the USDA as meat or poultry that comes from animals that have been given significant access to the outdoors.

If you think I am overly critical or skeptical, Friday's post will cover additional reports that make me this way.  In the meantime check out my posts on Burger King Strawberry Milkshakes and McDonald Chicken Nuggets.



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