Have you ever bought a food because it was “all-natural” or “hormone-free”? These claims are often used on food labels to draw attention to healthy sounding information while leaving out the item’s unhealthy qualities. While some claims are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), others are not. It can be hard to know which claims to believe and which may be misleading.
The list below shows nutrient content claims that may be helpful when grocery shopping.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, take notice of all the different claims found on food packages and consider these questions:
- Is this claim meaningful or misleading?
- Are you more tempted to buy the foods with claims?
- Do any of the foods that you commonly buy have claims that may have influenced past purchases?
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Label claims for conventional foods and dietary supplements.
- FDA website. https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/label-claims-conventional-foods-and-dietary-supplements. Updated June 19, 2018. Accessed October 15, 2019.
- American Heart Association. Food packaging claims. American Heart Association website.
- https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/food-packaging-claims. Updated March 6, 2017. Accessed October 15, 2019.
- Harvard School of Public Health. Watch out for misleading food packaging claims.
- HSPH website. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/misleading-food-packaging-claims/. Published September 27, 2017. Accessed October 15, 2019.
- Environmental Working Group. Decoding Meat and Dairy Product Labels. EWG website.
- https://www.ewg.org/research/labeldecoder/less-reliable.php#. Accessed June 4, 2020.