How to Read a Clean Food Label (Not as Easy as it Sounds)

Being able to read a clean food label was becoming an increasingly easy thing to do for some time. Food manufacturers and product developers were working hard to provide consumers with a direct understanding of their food. They started making foods that were free of artificial ingredients. They reduced processing as much as possible. Ingredients were recognizable.

However, as plant-based diets took off, knowing how to read a clean food label became more complex. Many foods made without animal-based products have reintroduced ingredients processing. This is the only way it becomes possible for vegetable burgers to be made of liquified nuts and pulses where a hamburger’s ingredients may have listed exclusively beef.

This, and sneaky food labeling have made it challenging for the average person to figure it out. Here are some helpful tips to read a clean food label and understand what it means.

Read a Clean Food Label: “Natural”

This word in food labeling looks as though it means all real and wholesome ingredients. That said, there isn’t an official definition of the word “natural” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is permitted for use on foods that don’t contain any synthetic or artificial ingredients.

As a result, it could include anything from an organic apple you picked yourself to your favorite soda. Don’t be swayed by the word “natural.” It doesn’t mean you’re buying a clean food. Have a closer look at the ingredients list to understand whether or not it truly fits your definition of natural.

Read a Clean Food Label: “GMO Free”

New labeling laws means that companies that call their products GMO free must live up to that promise. Therefore, means that the products can’t contain any genetically modified organisms (GMO). These refer to plant or animal product that have been biologically altered at the DNA level so that they contain DNA from another plant, animal or other living organism. While the FDA calls GMO foods perfectly safe to eat, consumers are not convinced. Therefore, if a product is labeled as being GMO free, that must be true.

Read a Clean food Label: “Pesticide Free”

This is an important one when you read a clean food label. T he reason is that it tells you that a product has been grown and made without the use of synthetic insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. That said, it is not USDA regulated. Therefore, cross contamination – for instance from neighboring crops – may cause a small amount to have occurred. While it may ensure that you’re consuming less of these chemicals, it doesn’t mean that these foods are actually free of pesticides.

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