Are you as confused as I am by the various different terms sprinkled on packaging these days? It turns out, with a little research I was able to compile a list defining the various different words, logos and certifications that appear on the things we buy, in the stories we read and on the news we watch and hear…so we can now all sprinkle these words into our daily conversation and sound real smart.
Here’s a list of words found on food labeling. Most of the definitions below and further information can be found here.
1. Natural– unfortunately there are not real clear regulations on the use of this term so if you see it on grocery or household products you can probably assume it’s better than products that don’t carry any “healthy” terminology but, read the label to see exactly what the manufacturer means.
2. Organic – This term usually refers to products made from materials grown using natural fertilizers and no synthetic growth hormones. Again this is a little shaky though Organic food production is legally regulated. Currently, the United States, the European Union, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain organic certification in order to market food as organic.
3. K or Kosher – means the food complies with Jewish dietary laws and was processed under the supervision of a rabbi. A “U” inside a circle means it complies with Jewish dietary laws and is authorized by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, known as the Orthodox Union. The word “Parev” next to these symbols means the food contains neither meat nor dairy ingredients.
4. Free –This term means that a product contains no amount of, or only trivial“physiologically inconsequential ”amounts of one or more of these components:fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugars, and calories. For example, “calorie-free” means fewer than calories per serving, and “sugar-free” and “fat-free” both mean less than 0.5 g per serving. Synonyms for “free” include “without,” “no” and “zero.” A synonym for fat-free milk is “skim.”
5. Low Fat – A food meets the definition for “low” if a person can eat a large amount of the food without exceeding the Daily Value for the nutrient.The synonyms allowed for “low” are: “little”, ”few”, ”contains a small amount” and ”low source of”. “Low” claims can be made in reference to total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories.
6. Lean – less than 10 g fat, 4.5 g or less saturated fat, and less than 95 mg cholesterol per serving and per 100 g.
7. Extra Lean – On seafood and game meat that contains less than 10g total fat, 4.5g or less saturated fat,and less than 95mg cholesterol per reference amount.
8. Percent Fat Free – FDA and FSIS believe that this claim implies, and consumers expect, that products bearing “percent fat free” claims contain relatively small amounts of fat and are useful in maintaining a low-fat diet. Therefore, products with these claims must meet the definitions for low fat. In addition, the claim must accurately reflect the amount of fat present in 100 g of the food. For example, if a food contains 2.5 g of fat per 50 g, the claim must be “95 percent fat free.”
9. High, Rich In, or Excellent Source of – Contains 20% or more of the Daily Value (DV) to describe protein, vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, or potassium per reference amount. May be used on meals or main dishes to indicate that product contains a food that meets definition. This claim may not be used for total carbohydrate.
10. Good source, Contains, or Provides – These foods contain 10-19% of the Daily Value per reference serving of a certain component.
11. Reduced – This term means that a nutritionally altered product contains at least 25 percent less of a nutrient or of calories than the regular, or reference, product. However, a reduced claim can not be made on a product if its reference food already meets the requirement for a “low” claim.
12. Less – This term means that a food, whether altered or not, contains 25 percent less of a nutrient or of calories than the reference food. For example, pretzels that have 25 percent less fat than potato chips could carry a “less” claim. “Fewer” is an acceptable synonym.
13. Lite or Light can mean one of two things: First, that a nutritionally altered product contains one-third fewer calories or half the fat of the reference food. If the food derives 50 percent or more of its calories from fat, the reduction must be 50 percent of the fat.