Know Your Labels

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | June 29th, 2011

Do you know what’s really in a food product after reading the food label? Deceptive advertising prevents consumers from clearly knowing what is in the food they eat.The flexibility manufacturers have in labeling is used to their advantage and often plays on the vulnerability of consumers.

There is much to learn from a food label besides the caloric content, which means little compared to other information.Portion size and ingredients play the most crucial role in learning the difference between healthy and unhealthy food.

Understanding what the words on labels really mean allows you to make healthier choices.Here is a brief glossary of words commonly found on labels.


In order for a product to be labeled “organic” it must be verified by a USDA approved independent agency.Here are some of the requirements:

· Abstain from the application of prohibited materials (including synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and sewage sludge for 3 years prior to certification and then continually throughout their organic license.

· Prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms and irradiation.

· Employ positive soil building, conservation, manure management and crop rotation practices.

· Provide outdoor access and pasture for livestock.

· Refrain from antibiotic and hormone use in animals.

· Sustain animals on 100% organic feed.

· Avoid contamination during the processing of organic products.

· Keep records of all operations.

The term “organic” is used very loosely already and the food industry is trying to expand the definition to include products not 100% organic.Consequently, not all “organic” products are created equal.

Products having the “USDA Organic” seal contain 95 to 100 percent organic ingredients.Products containing 70 to 95 percent organic ingredients can still advertise “organic ingredients” on the front of the package and those with less than 70 percent organic ingredients can identify them on the side panel.

Support your local organic farmer for assurance of organic products.


The term “healthy” must represent foods low in fat and saturated fat and contain limited amounts of cholesterol and sodium.Certain foods must also contain at least 10 percent of one or more of vitamins A or C, iron, calcium, protein or fiber.In other words, the word “healthy” means nothing.


The word “fresh” can only be used on food that is raw, has never been frozen or heated and contains no preservatives.Be forewarned, however, “fresh” food can be irradiated!This is another reason to support local farmers.

Fat-Free or Calorie-Free

Foods labeled fat or calorie-free must have none or only a miniscule amount of fat or calories (such as less than 0.5 g of fat and fewer than 5 calories per serving).However, many people eat more than one serving of food and get some fat and/or calories.Furthermore, fat and calorie free foods contain more artificial ingredients that can be more problematic than the calories themselves.Go for real foods, those closer to nature.


Eggs and poultry may be labeled “free-range” or “free-roaming.”You may think this means hens are running around in an open field on farm land, right?What it really means is that farmers must give their animal’s access to the outside.To learn what farmers do to their products, look up their farming practices on line or call them.


Pasture-raised poultry have been raised in pastures where they’re able to eat grass.This means the animals are usually raised in portable pens that are dragged around a pasture every few days for access to fresh grass.


This means the animal was fed grass, rather than grains which most cattle are fed.However, a “grass-fed” label doesn’t necessarily mean the animal ate grass its entire life.Some grass-fed cattle have been fed grains, predominantly corn, usually at the end of their life cycle.Check the fine print on the label for this important distinction or call the company.

Cows that graze on grass ONLY are nutritionally better.Beef and milk products from grass-fed cattle have higher levels of vitamin E, C, beta carotene and a-linolenic acid (ALA), which when consumed, converts into EPA and DHA, two types of omega-3 fatty acids most readily used by the body.They contain more brain and heart boosting omega-3 fatty acids, are leaner, and thus contain fewer calories, naturally.

It may be difficult to find grass fed beef and products at your local grocer despite growing demand.Because a label reads Natural Beef does not mean the animal was grass-fed.It must say grass-fed on the label, meaning no grains or any type of corn at any time in the feeding cycle.

Visit or

to learn more about grass fed beef.

Wild Game

It’s not as wild as you think.Most “wild game” served in restaurants is farm-raised.Farm-raised wild game tends to have a milder flavor than truly wild game.


This term describes a rare or antique breed of livestock.These animals are prized for their rich taste and usually contain a higher fat content than commercial breeds.

Fair Trade

The “fair trade” label means that farmers and workers in developing countries have received a fair wage and have had decent working conditions while growing/packaging the product. Many products in Whole Foods and Wild Oats are labeled this way.

Scientific evidence supports that our health is affected by how and what we eat.Reading and understanding labels is in our best interest.Food manufacturers continue to lobby the FDA about labeling semantics. The purpose is to confuse and deceive consumers by changing words on labels in order to further marketing strategies and increase the bottom line.

Remain one step ahead of the marketers by staying informed.


Recommended readings:

Six-Wise .com – So Now What Exactly Does Certified Organic Mean? Is it Really Organic?AndFood Nutrition Labels: Six Catches You Need to Know

In the News

Many generic medications are too expensive for patients who must pay out-of-pocket. The cost of even generic drugs at pharmacy chains like Walgreens, Eckerd, and CVS are prohibitively expensive.

Two chains, Costco and Sam’s Club, sell generics at prices far lower than other stores.Here are comparative prices in Houston stores for 90 tablets of generic Prozac:

  • Walgreens: $117
  • Eckerd: $115
  • CVS: $115
  • Sam’s Club: $15
  • Costco: $12

The price at Costco is almost 90 percent less than the same drug at Walgreens. Most patients assume the prices are competitively close at all pharmacies.

Stephen J. Dubner, author of Freakonomics, If Crack Dealers Took Lessons from Walgreens, They Really Would be Rich, 15 Mar 2007

NOTE: A link to a fascinating Wall Street Journal article also shows how the savings on generic drugs extend far beyond fluoxetine (the generic version of Prozac).

Keeping you ‘in the know“…A RED ALERT

Recently I wrote an article about how the drug companies, with support from the FDA, continue to promote the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) despite scientific evidence that these synthetic hormones are molecular poisons for the women using them!

It makes my blood boil that these groups continue to promote deceptive information and also are lobbying to take away your freedom to choose a natural approach to health and healing.

Since 2005 governmental wolfhounds have been demanding that websites promoting the use of natural progesterone cream and other natural hormones close down.The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says it may be illegal for websites promoting products to say they can prevent or treat cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis or other health conditions.

Big pharma is threatened by informed women who no longer buy half-truths about the safety of synthetic hormones.Additionally, supporting the pharmaceutical industry, Steven Galson, drug chief of the FDA said, “Hormones are hormones are hormones.The same risks apply to compounded ones as apply to FDA approved ones.”. “Our position is these pharmacies are taking advantage of women, preying on their fears of menopause.”

These statements are insulting to women.It is like comparing an artificial apple to a real apple.The language is an attempt to pert from the real issue.Paying attention to language is instructive when discerning truth from myth.

Big pharma has been preying on women for the past 50 years by classifying every imaginable symptom into a disease so as to label women diseased, paving the way for new drugs.

Women are no longer buying these lies.The FTC, FDA and other governmental agencies are losing power over women and are trying to control them through threats and legislative measures.They are chasing down and censoring educational information that helps inform women of their choices.

Scientific evidence is clear.Synthetic hormones cause more risk than benefit. They increase risk for cancer, dementia, stroke, heart disease and other debilitating conditions.Benefits of natural hormones, progesterone in particular, also has the support of scientific evidence.Women’s health outcomes have improved dramatically with the use of natural hormones that replicate what their bodies produce.They are safe and protect women from chronic illnesses and diseases.This is a fact!

The information/myth war in medicine is escalating.Illness and disease generates huge profits in this country and as women become healthier, their demand for healthcare and drugs decreases.This is a major threat to the drug companies and medicine.

For more information visit:


FTC: Hormone Sites Didn’t Heed Warnings, Tampa Tribune, April 20, 2007

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Edited by: Thomas J. Cline, MBA, President and Editor in Chief of INTEGRITY TALK, The official publication of the International Association of Ethics Trainers.

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