Don’t Get Sucked In

Don’t Get Sucked In


My smart southern father always said to us kids, “Just because they say so doesn’t mean it’s true. If everyone else is going to jump off the bridge, that doesn’t mean you should too.” In my teenage years, that was never the statement I wanted to hear, especially when I wanted to go to Myrtle Beach and my parents thought I was too young to go unchaperoned.

I completely understand their reasoning now. My father’s crude but smart statement could be carried over into many aspects of life. One of the aspects that I am thinking about is simple food labels. I have learned that just because it says so, doesn’t always mean it’s true and we shouldn’t always believe it.

I recently wrote a short article titled, “Organic Chicken Or Deception?” which you can find on this website. This finding awakened me to much deception in labels.

More and more people are asking us about what food labels really mean. People are asking if you can really rely on the labels to be what they say they are. I wanted to take a little bit of time, and research more on what food labels really mean and how they were used. I learned that my father was right; just because they say so doesn’t mean it’s true.

It sometimes feels hard to know what is correct and best when we are trying so hard to eat right and healthy, and then find that what we were buying, wasn’t what it was labeled as. It is my opinion that marketing is beginning to get out of hand in order to make money. I do understand that businesses have to make money. I own a business and know first hand on that issue. My problem is when we spend our hard earned money on food we expect to be clean, free of whatever the label says it is, and healthy for us, then it’s a crime to lie to us. I do not mean to sound negative but as the old saying goes, “We are what we eat”.

I am sure you have already heard how some countries have banned some of our fast food restaurants. One country just recently in the news is Russia. Russia has banned the meat from McDonalds. I won’t say anything else about that because you can easily look it up.

There are so many labels now to suck us up into the buying clouds. I’m sure you have seen labels such as , “Kid Approved, Doctor Recommended, Dermatologist Recommended, Contains Antioxidants”, and more. Most kids will approve of a new toy. What doctor recommended it and why should we only believe one doctor? For the purpose of this writing, I’m only going to stick with some of the food labels.

Let’s start with the Organic labels. We always tell our patients to eat as much organic food as possible, but we are now teaching them how the label system works.

According to the USDA, United States Department of Agriculture, the following food products may be labeled with the USDA organic seal:

“ Raw agricultural commodities that have been certified organic. Processed or multi-ingredient products that have been certified organic and contain 95 to 100 percent organic content.”

Check here about AMS.

It continues to say, “If your product contains at least 70 percent organic content, it may be labeled as “made with” up to three specified organic ingredients but not labeled with the USDA organic seal”. It also says, “ If your product contains less than 70 percent organic content, any organic ingredients may be specified on the list of ingredients.”

It sounds good and right. It is legal. So what’s the problem? Let me give you an example:

Let’s pretend I wanted to market my Homemade Teas. I use 12 different types of herbs in it. I could only find 9 herbs that were organic and the rest were grown by a company that used pesticides and bad water for irrigation from Mexico. Remember, we get a lot of our foods now from out of country. For a marketing standpoint, I could still put on the front label that it was “Made with organic ingredients”. Most people would see the word organic and immediately think it’s completely organic.

Another label to watch is the phrase “made with whole grains”. Since the US has started recommending that we eat whole grains, the marketeers are abusing the phrase. Some companies are adding only a small amount of whole wheat flour. Look on your label and see where whole wheat is. Is it below the water ingredient? If so, there’s not much whole wheat in the package.

I hope to educate myself and you more as time goes by. I feel we can live better and healthier if we are not in the dark and have just a little education about the subject.

Happy eating!

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