Labels can be deceiving, and we can waste a lot of money and time trying to eat healthy foods when we follow the sly marketing of food labels. Over the course of this blog we will look at a list of the most popular food package terminology and claims used by food manufacturers and what they really mean for you and your health.
The use of the organic logo is voluntary. The “100% Organic” label indicates that every ingredient in the food is certified organic. “Organic” means that at least ninety-five percent of the ingredients are certified organic. Some foods contain organically produced ingredients, but not at a high enough percentage to qualify for the organic seal. If a food contains at least 70 percent organic ingredients, the words “made with organic ingredients” can appear on the label, along with a list of up to three organic ingredients. Foods containing less than 70 percent organic ingredients can’t use the word “organic” on their product label or the organic seal. However, they can include the organic items in their ingredient list.
“Made with Real Fruit” or “Contains Real Fruit Juice” is another label claim. The claim “made with real fruit” is frequently found on fruit snacks, fruity cookies, cereals, and fruit drinks. Since there is no law that requires how much real fruit has to be included in a food that uses this claim, the sugary treat could contain just one grape or one drop of orange juice to be accurate. However, a quick look at the ingredients list will show you what you need to know. When high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar are listed as the first ingredients, you know that the “real fruit” content of the product isn’t significant. Pay attention to serving sizes. Many products reflect unrealistic sizes and you may be consuming a lot more calories than you realize!