Food labels tell you about the ingredients in the product you are consuming. Businesses in the food and beverage industry are obligated to provide accurate and genuine information about what they put in their food products, and so they do with different kinds of labels. But now-a-days, a number of confusing food labels are being used to mislead the buyers, making food shopping for the cautious kind more complicated. If you do not have a habit of reading the food labels before buying products, you should start doing it now. If you have made it a habit already, here are five food labels that could be throwing you off course.
The next time you find a non-meat product that says all-natural, do not fall for it. Because the USDA requires only the meat, egg and other poultry products labeled as natural to be minimally processed and have no artificial ingredients. This rule, however, does not talk about any standards for farm practicing and for food products that do not contain any meat. That is why some manufacturers tend to use this label loosely for products that have “No preservatives. No Artificial Colors and No Artificial Flavors”.
According to the USDA, this label indicates that the flock or poultry used for food was allowed to grow freely outside cage meshes, but in enclosed areas with access to adequate food and water. However, not many people know that broiler chicken, which are bred for their meat and are often kept outside of cages. This is in a way misleading because almost all chicken products, except eggs, are by default from cage-free poultry.
No added hormones
No poultry, goat or pork should be bred using hormones, according to federal regulations. The USDA has never permitted that, which not many people know. The label “raised without hormones” or “No added hormones” is used unnecessarily to create an impression and mislead the buyers. Perhaps that is why Horizon organic milk cartons highlights that from a biochemistry perspective, there is no difference between milk produced by cows that have been given the growth-hormone and those without it.
Gluten-free does not necessarily mean that the food product is entirely free of gluten. According to the US FDA, the final draft that defines the label gluten-free has several clauses. It could mean that the food product is inherently free of gluten or the ingredient used in it does not contain the gluten-containing grain, or wheat. It could also mean that the ingredient has not been derived from wheat or wheat that has been processed to remove gluten (wheat flour). It also considered gluten free if the ingredient contains 20 parts per million or ppm gluten in the product. Thankfully, FMCG manufacturers have to provide more accurate labels on the products rather than just say “gluten-free” on the packaging soon.