Navigating Food Claims

Navigating Food Claims

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Reading food labels can be confusing and sometimes misleading. How can you figure out the best products to meet your family’s needs? MARTIN’S in-store nutritionists are here to help with some tips on navigating claims made on food labels.

 

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Food Claims: Organic

Organic foods are organically grown or produced without things like genetic engineering, irradiation and synthetic pesticides. They can be labeled in four ways and labeling is regulated by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

  • “100% organic”
  • “organic” = 95% of ingredients are organic
  • “made with organic ingredients” = 70% ingredients are organic
  • “some organic ingredients” = Less than 70% of ingredients are organic

The USDA authorizes independent agencies to inspect and certify farms and facilities that after passing inspection may display the USDA Organic Seal on their products.

A common question my customers ask is, “Should I purchase all organic products for my family?” Thedecision to purchase organic is a personal one and depends on availability, nutrient needs and budget.  It’s important to remember that the term “organic” can apply to everything from apples to cookies and the guidelines for eating a healthy diet are still key. Some organic products are high in fat, sugar or sodium, so choose the foods that promote a balanced diet. If you decide to go organic, MARTIN’S has a wide variety of organic produce and packaged products as well as poultry and meats such as grass-fed beef.

 

Food Claims: Natural

Natural is a term which appears on many food labels, but it can be confusing. The term “natural” is currently restricted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only as it applies to added color, synthetic substances, and artificial flavors. Because the term “natural” is not certified, it can mean different things when used by different companies. For example, an item deemed natural, according to the FDA restrictions, may still contain high fructose corn syrup, some preservatives or genetically modified ingredients. When considering products claiming to be “natural” make sure you read the label for all of the ingredients.

 

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Food Claims: Free from

MARTIN’S Nature’s Promise® “Free from” product line is just that—free from the ingredients we call out on the package. Free from products do not contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and other unnecessary ingredients. You can find the entire list and criteria on our website.

For more tips on how to navigate food claims, call to schedule a consultation with me, or with Valerie Pulley, MARTIN’S in-store nutritionist on Richmond’s West End.

Caroline Roessler, MS, RDN is an in-store nutritionist at MARTIN’S Food Markets’ Charter Colony location in Midlothian.  She believes that food should be good for us, and taste great too.  She is committed to offering practical, evidence-based advice to help families make sustainable healthy changes to their lifestyle.  To get a plan tailored to you, call Caroline at 804-794-7074 or email her at Caroline.Roessler@giantmartins.com to set up a one-on-one consultation.  

 

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Caroline Roessler, MS, RDN is an in-store nutritionist for MARTIN’S Food Markets in Midlothian. She is committed to offering practical advice based on up-to-date information to help families make sustainable healthy changes to their lifestyle. To get a plan tailored to you, call Caroline at 804-794-7074 or email her at Caroline.Roessler@giantmartins.com to set up a one-on-one consultation.