Do you know what you're buying at the grocery store? Don't worry if you don't. Even the Food and Drug Administration struggles to figure out exactly what manufacturers are placing on the shelves.
Christopher Doering of The Des Moines Register noted that each year manufacturers use new words to describe the content of their food. These buzz words are intended to attract often distracted customers who have a lot of choices.
Dan Engeljohn, an assistant administrator with the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection, said that each year new words and claims are being added to labels.
"For labels that … are required to be submitted to us, we have increasingly seen a larger number of them that have claims, such as 'no antibiotics used,' or 'low sodium' or 'healthy' or 'does not contain growth hormones,'" said Engeljohn.
This makes it particularly difficult for the FDA and consumers to understand what they should and shouldn't eat. After all, some people need to eat healthy food or products that lack certain ingredients due to dietary restrictions. Doering pointed out that words such as "grass fed" and "antibiotic free" are commonly used. But what do they really mean?
"There is a whole variety of claims that marketers want to put on products that we have an obligation to make sure is truthful," Engeljohn said. "We routinely do not approve labels that are submitted to us because the marketing can't be verified or they go beyond what a reasonable person would expect is appropriate."
If you want to have your labels approved, make sure to inspect them carefully before printing. And then print them using high quality machines such as the Afinia R635 Color Laser Label Printer.