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Avoiding Deception When Buying Packaged Foods Requires Buzzword Education

July 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
There’s a fine line between outright dishonesty – barred by the federal government – and clever deception when it comes to the use of “unregulated buzzwords” on food packaging. Found frequently on food labels are words like organic – that one is FDA-regulated – natural, fat-free, cage-free, hormone-free, and whole grain. Cage-free, for example, means laying hens aren’t jammed into tiny cages. They can walk around in enclosed areas. But it doesn’t mean they get to wander around outside. That’s what “free-range” means. Another confusing term: only “100 percent whole grain” ensures it’s made from whole grain, while “made with” whole grain means it’s mostly enriched flour.
Craven McGinty, "Food Labels Like ‘Organic’ and ‘Whole Grain,’ Meant to Clarify, Often Confuse", The Wall Street Journal, July 08, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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