Bethany Constien,BSFCS, SRMC Dietetic Intern, October 2010
Have you ever seen the word “organic” or the “USDA Organic” seal in grocery stores or restaurants and wondered what it meant? According to the United States Department of Agriculture (the organization that governs organic foods), organically-grown crops must be grown in the absence of synthetic or sewage-based fertilizers and [most] pesticides. Organically-raised animals cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones, and must be fed organic feed 1. Foods with any type of organic label must come from a USDA-certified organic farmer; the type of label is based on the percentage of the product made with organically-grown ingredients 1,2.
If you choose to buy organic foods and beverages, knowing the following labels will hopefully help you decide which organic products to purchase 2:
“100% Organic” = 100% of the ingredients are organic; the “USDA Organic” seal can be used on these products
“Organic” = 95% or more of the ingredients are organic; the “USDA Organic” seal can be used on these products
“Made with Organic Ingredients” = 70% or more of the ingredients are organic; the “USDA Organic” seal can NOT be used on products with this label
United States Department of Agriculture. National Organic Program: Going Organic? Available at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateN&leftNav=NationalOrganicProgram&page=NOPGoingOrganic&description=Going%20Organic&acct=nopgeninfo. Accessed October 13, 2010.
United States Department of Agriculture. National Organic Program: Understanding Organic. Available at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateA&leftNav=NationalOrganicProgram&page=NOPUnderstandingOrganic&description=Understanding%20Organic&acct=nopgeninfo. Accessed October 13, 2010.
Ashley Matthews, MS, SRMC Dietetic Intern 2010
Being healthy is becoming a priority for many Americans. Part of living a healthy lifestyle is eating nutritious foods. We need nutritious foods in our diets so we can improve our health and quality of life. When you are shopping at the grocery store, you may notice that some food products have health claims on the front of their box, like “Reduced Fat.” Sometimes these claims can be misleading. But don’t be fooled, just because a food is lower in fat than its original version does not mean the food is low in fat. A product could have 30% less fat, but may still be high in fat. Here are three ways you can determine if a food is healthy and may benefit you:
Here is a list of some common health claims and what they mean:
You should also know the FDA sets standards for health-related claims that appear on food containers and labels. Health-related claims can help you identify foods that are rich in nutrients and foods that may help to reduce the risk for certain diseases or conditions. Some examples of health-related claims you may see on food products include: links between heart disease and fat, high blood pressure and sodium, calcium and osteoporosis, and folate and neural tube defects.
So, remember, you are the person in control of your health, improve the quality of your diet by knowing the meaning of food and health-related claims, and reading food labels.
*Food and health-related claims are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More information on food and health-related claims can be found at www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/