Food labels and claims can be extremely confusing, especially due to the vast variety of them and how food products are marketed. Find out what you are truly consuming by understanding the following labels.
The product contains 100 percent organic ingredients.
The product contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients.
“Made With Organic___”
The product contains at least 70 percent organic ingredients.
The product contains nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source). However, this claim does not address anything related to food production methods, such as the use of pesticides; or manufacturing methods, such as thermal technologies, pasteurization or irradiation.
“Reduced Sugar” or “Less Sugar”
The product contains 25 percent less sugar per serving than a comparable product. The product with reduced sugar can still have a lot of added sugar; it’s just lower than the regular version of the product.
“Zero Trans Fat”
The product can state “zero trans fat” if it contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving.
This label means the product can contain several different grains, not necessarily whole grains.
“Free-Roaming, Free-Range, Pasture-Raised”
Animals must have access to the outdoors for a minimum of 120 days per year. This means they have access but may not choose to be outside.
“Grass-Fed” or “100% Grass-Fed”
This label can be used on packages of meat or meat products from animals that were only fed grass after being weaned from their mother’s milk. This claim has nothing to do with hormones or antibiotics given.
This label is not regulated.
“Raised Without Hormones”
The use of hormones is ONLY approved for use in beef cattle and sheep. Therefore, no hormones are ever used on poultry or pork. The claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the label of poultry or pork unless it is followed by the statement “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”
“Raised Without Antibiotics”
This label means the animal was not given antibiotics any time during their lifespan in their food, water or through injections.
“Code of Federal Regulations Title 21,” fda.gov, Feb. 27, 2019.
“Organic Labeling,” ams.usda.gov, Feb. 27, 2019.
” Food Safety and Inspection Service Labeling Guideline,” fsis.usda.gov, Feb. 27, 2019.