Food Labels

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Finding Sugar on Food Labels

Over 60 Names for Sugar
  • Agave Nectar
  • Barbados sugar
  • Barley malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Brown Sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane Juice crystals
  • Cane Sugar
  • Caramel
  • Carob Syrup
  • Castor Sugar
  • Confectioner's Sugar
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Corn Syrup
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Crystalline Fructose
  • Date Sugar
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextran
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic Malt
  • Diatase
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Evaporated Cane Syrup
  • Florida Crystals
  • Fructose
  • Fruit Juice
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Glucose Solids
  • Golden Sugar
  • Golden Syrup
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Grape Sugar
  • Honey
  • High-fructose Corn Syrup
  • Inverted Sugar
  • Icing sugar
  • Invert Sugar
  • Lactose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado
  • Organic Raw Sugar
  • Panocha
  • Raw Sugar
  • Refiner's syrup
  • Rice Syrup
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Table Sugar
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Yellow Sugar

80% of the food in an American grocery store contains added sugar. (Lustig 2013)

Lustig R (2013) Sugar, The Elephant in the Kitchen. TEDxBermuda 2013

Organic and GMO Foods

U.S. and Canada laws do not allow foods labeled '100% certified organic' to contain any genetically engineered or modified food (GMO), including livestock that have consumed genetically modified feed. Foods simply labeled 'organic' may still contain genetically modified ingredients up to 30%. Incidentally, foods labeled "USDA organic" are required to have at least 95% organic ingredients.

PLU Codes on Produce

Stickers with PLU codes are placed on produce to ensure that the accurate price is paid by consumers by removing the need for cashiers to identify the product. The PLU Code may also provide information how the produce was grown, although the system is voluntary and not mandated by any governing body.

  • 4 digit code starting with a 3 or 4
    • Conventional
    • Example: 4011: conventional banana
  • 5 digit code starting with 9
    • Organically grown according to standards set by the National Organic Standards Board
    • Example: 94011: Organic banana
  • 5 digit code starting with 8
    • Genetically engineered or modified (GMO)
    • Example: 84011: GMO banana

International Federation for Produce Standards


FDA Labeling Guidelines

Calories

  • Calorie-free
    • < 5 cal per serving
  • Low Calorie
    • 40 calories or less per serving
  • Reduced Calorie
    • At least 25% fewer calories
  • Light
    • If 50% or more of the calories are from fat
      • fat must be reduced by at least 50%
    • If < 50% of calories are from fat
      • fat must be reduced at least 50% or calories reduced at least 1/3

Fat

  • Fat-free
    • < 0.5 grams of fat per serving with no added fat
  • Low fat
    • 3 grams or less of fat per serving
  • Less fat
    • 25% or less fat
  • Light (fat)
    • 50% or less of fat
  • _% Fat Free
    • May be used for low fat foods

Saturated Fat

  • Saturated Fat Free
    • <0.5 grams of saturated fat
    • <0.5 grams of trans-fat per serving
  • Low Saturated Fat
    • 1 g or less than in comparison food
    • 15% or less of calories from saturated fat
  • Reduced Saturated Fat
    • At least 25% less saturated fat

Cholesterol

  • Cholesterol-free
    • < 2 mg cholesterol per serving
    • 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving
  • Low Cholesterol
    • 20 mg or less cholesterol per serving
    • 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving
  • Reduced Cholesterol
    • At least 25% less cholesterol

Sodium

  • Sodium Free
    • <5 mg of sodium per serving
  • Salt Free
    • <5 mg of sodium per serving
  • Low Sodium
    • 140 mg or less per serving
  • Very Low Sodium
    • 35 mg or less per serving
  • Reduced Sodium
    • At least 25% less sodium

Sugar

  • Sugar Free
    • < 0.5 grams of sugar per serving
  • Low Sugar
    • Not defined, cannot be used
  • Reduced Sugar
    • At least 25% less sugars

Lean

  • Lean
    • Less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 g of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol
    • per (100 gram) serving of meat, poultry or seafood
  • Extra Lean
    • Less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol
    • per (100 gram) serving of meat, poultry or seafood

Miscellaneous

  • High Fiber
    • 5 grams or more fiber per serving
  • Healthy
    • low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium
    • contains at least 10% of Daily Values for vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or fiber.

Synonyms

  • Free
    • Zero, No, Without, Trivial Source of, Negligible Source of, Dietarily Insignificant Source of
  • Light
    • Lite
    • May be used if there has been a long history of use of the term "light" associated with a product it may continue to be used
      • eg: light corn syrup, light brown sugar
  • Low
    • Little, Few, Low Source of
    • Amount allowing frequent consumption of food without exceeding Daily Value for nutrient
    • Claim can only be made as it applies to all similar foods
  • High
    • Rich in, or Excellent Source
    • 20% or more of Daily Value for given nutrient per serving
  • Reduced / Less
    • Fewer, Lower
    • At least 25% less of given nutrient or calories than comparison food
  • Good Source of, More, Added
    • Provides 10% more of Daily Value for given nutrient than comparison food

FDA Definitions of Nutrient Content Claims


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