Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Let’s Talk About: Food Labels
In the U.S., food labeling is required for most prepared foods, such as bread, cereals, canned and frozen foods, snacks, desserts, drinks, etc.[i] Food labels must list calories, calories from fat, total fat, trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium content. Also, any vitamins or minerals found in enriched foods must be listed. Finally, there must be an ingredient list which includes specific additives such as color additives, casienate, and protein hydrolysates.[ii]
All of these requirements are determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on scientific and medical guidance. For example, FDA requires labeling of ingredients that impact wide-spread human allergies (e.g. peanuts).
In recent years, many companies have introduced labels to increase the marketability of the product. FDA approved descriptors and health claims may be added to labels.[iii] Consumers may select products based on labels like all natural, grass fed or organic while being unsure of the true meaning of the labels. In order to keep labels truthful, FDA seeks voluntary compliance from food companies.[iv]
Illinois Farm Bureau Policy
The Illinois Farm Bureau (“IFB”) supports the “Promotion of increased use of nutritional information on food labels.” Additionally IFB supports “the science based labeling policies of the FDA [including] voluntary labeling using statements which are truthful and not misleading.” IFB opposes “Labels that state or imply organic food is superior to traditional agri-food products or that imply negative consequences of consuming non-organic foods over organic products.”[v]
No Added Hormones
For information on Genetically Modified food labeling, please see Let’s Talk About: GM Labeling.
[i] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Labeling & Nutrition”. 2015. Web. 14 July 2015.
[ii] MedlinePlus. “Food labeling”. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 15 May 2014. Web. 21 July 2015.
[iii] MedlinePlus. “Food labeling”. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 15 May 2014. Web. 21 July 2015.
[iv] Nigowetti, Nicole E. “Food Labeling Litigation: Exposing Gaps in the FDA’s Resources and Regulatory Authority.” Governance Studies at Brookings. June 2014. Web. 21 July 2015.
[v] Illinois Farm Bureau. (2015). Food Labeling. Policy Resolutions. (pp.76). Bloomington, IL.
[vi] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “What is the meaning of ‘natural’ on the label of food.” 8 June 2015. Web. 20 July 2015.
[vii] National Chicken Council. “Chickopedia: What Consumers Need to Know.” Web. 20 July 2015.
[viii] National Chicken Council. “Chickopedia: What Consumers Need to Know.” Web. 20 July 2015.
[ix] The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems Vermont Law School. “Glossary.” 2015. Web. 14 July 2015.
[x] USDA Agriculture Marketing Service Grading, Certification and Verification. “Grass Fed Marketing Claim Standards.” 29 September 2008. Web. 20 July 2015.
[xi] Mankad, Rekha M.D. “ Does grass-fed beef have any heart-health benefits that other types of beef don’t?” Mayo Clinic. 27 December 2014. Web. 20 July 2015.
[xii] The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems Vermont Law School. “Glossary.” 2015. Web. 14 July 2015.
[xiii] USDA. “Meat and Poultry Labeling Terms.” 24 October 2014. Web. 20 July 2015.
[xiv] The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems Vermont Law School. “Organic and Natural Processed Food.” 2015. Web. 14 July 2015.
[xv] United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service National Organic Program. “Organic Standards.” 11 June 2015. Web. 20 July 2015.
[xvi] Mayo Clinic Staff. “Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?” Mayo Clinic. 9 June 2014. Web. 20 July 2015.
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