Healthy and natural are in the news again; what do they mean?

The Food and Drug Administration recently backed down in a fight with Kind bars about the bar maker using the term healthy on its products. In the process, the agency decided to re-evaluate the guidelines it uses that allow a food manufacturer to use the term healthy.

My low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar pantry.
My low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar pantry. Are these healthy? For me, they are.

“Just because a food contains certain ingredients that are considered good for you, such as fruit or nuts, it does not mean that the food can bear a ‘healthy’ nutrient content claim,’ the FDA said, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Kind bars have 13 grams of sugar each, is that healthy? How about the 3.5 grams of saturated fat? Continue reading “Healthy and natural are in the news again; what do they mean?”

Gaga for grass-fed beef? You may want to think again

Food processors spend a lot of money keeping their fingers on the pulse of the buying public and responding when they discern a trend in what consumers want. Unfortunately what they respond with often is not what consumers had hoped to get, or even what they think they are getting.

Is that grass-fed beef? We may never know.
Is that grass-fed beef? We may never know.

Yes, the Department of Agriculture does have a definition for what can be considered organic food, but beyond that when you start talking about products calling themselves natural, genuine, local, or other buzz=terms consumers want, it all gets very, very cloudy. Continue reading “Gaga for grass-fed beef? You may want to think again”

The GMO food labeling battle is reaching fever pitch

The food industry continues to fight efforts to label foods that have genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) even as people across the country continue to push for such labeling. The battle is moving to Washington, D.C., these days as the industry tries to get Congress to do something to prevent a GMO labeling law from going into effect in Vermont.

Here's what food labels could look like in Vermont-- noting GMOs-- unless Congress moves to stop it.
Here’s what food labels could look like in Vermont– noting GMOs– unless Congress moves to stop it.

The latest is detailed in this Associated Press story I read earlier this week. Basically, food companies have to start saying on product labels whether they include GMOs starting in July under the Vermont law. The industry is lobbying Congress to pre-empt state laws on this issue, knowing that a Republican-controlled Congress would likely side with it, just as Republican generally did in coming out against new school lunch nutrition standards.

The U.S. secretary of agriculture has yet to take a position and has been trying to broker a compromise, so it’s not clear how the president would react to a Congressional move to essentially negate the Vermont law. Continue reading “The GMO food labeling battle is reaching fever pitch”

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