Labels, diets, and trends are always changing and many food companies embrace these changes in order to sell more. How can you be sure that the labels on the meat, poultry, and dairy products you are purchasing are not misleading? Educate yourself as a consumer and you will learn to separate fact from fiction when it comes to food labeling. Here are five food labels you might find in the grocery store and the truth behind them.
“No added hormones”
All animals produce hormones naturally and the USDA prohibits added hormones in poultry and pork so any label on such meat should be considered a marketing ploy.
Any livestock that has been given antibiotics must go through a withdrawal period prior to being used for meat or milk. This is just another marketing ploy.
BST is a naturally occurring hormone in dairy cows. rBST is a synthetic version of this hormone that is given to lactating cows so that they produce more milk. rBST has no impact on human cells. There is no nutritional difference in milk or dairy products from cows who have been given rBST and those who have not.
When used on eggs, cage free means that the hens were not kept in a cage, but they still may not have access to fresh air and sunlight. When used on chicken or turkey sold for meat, this label is meaningless because chickens and turkeys are not caged prior to being slaughtered.
This label has no relevance to the way the livestock was raised or whether or not hormones or antibiotics were used. The label only means that it contains no artificial ingredients or added color and is only minimally processed so that the processing does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must also explain the meaning of the term.
Do you read food labels? If your favorite brand had a misleading food label, would you still buy it?