Each time you enter a supermarket, you are faced with nearly 40,000 products to choose from. Each product brightly colored, strategically placed and wordsmithed perfectly to convince you not to leave the store without it. So, how as consumers can we decipher all the information food packages provide and use it to make better purchasing decisions for our families? We have to learn the food label lingo. First, it is important to recognize that all food products have five standard components regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Product Identity (product name that accurately describes the package contents)
- Net Content (product quantity or weight)
- Nutrition facts
- Ingredients/ allergen statement
- Signature Line (including company name and address of the manufacturer or distributor)
But most packages contain a slew of additional information that highlights anything from farm practices, to health benefits, to social and economic practices. There are three possible origins of food label claims and statements, 1) government agencies like the USDA and FDA; 2) third-party organizations like American Grassfed®, Non-GMO Project Verified, Fair Trade Certified, and Certified Angus Beef®; and 3) food manufacturers or producers.
To learn more about food labels and resources that can be used in Extension program efforts, read the complete blog article.
|Submitted by Carol Hamilton, Extension Educator, Delaware County.|