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Food Claims Explained: Part 1

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Food Claims Explained: Part 1

Thousands of food items now sport different claims on their packaging. But what do they all mean? And how do we know if they’re true?

From kosher to reduced-salt to certified organic, thousands of food items now sport different claims on their packaging. But what do they all mean? And how do we know if they’re true?

In this four part blog series, we’ll give you the lowdown on food claims, so that you can sort through the marketing speak and feel confident in what you’re buying.

Cholesterol-free
Health Canada states that a product labelled free of cholesterol or cholesterol-free must contain no more than 2 mg of cholesterol per indicated serving size. Further, the product must not contain more than 2 g of saturated and trans fatty acids combined per serving.

Fair Trade
A Fair Trade certification means that the product has been made under fair working conditions, meaning the producers are paid a fair price, which often results in meaningful, long-term trading relationships. Choose products featuring the Fair Trade Certification Mark, which indicates the product meets the high ethical and environmental standards set by Fairtrade Canada.

Free range
The requirement to label meat products and eggs as free range is vague: animals must have access to the outdoors. Because there is no legal definition of this, the level of access to the outdoors can vary from farm to farm. To ensure the meat you are getting is free range to your standards, find out where you’re getting your meat from and how it’s produced. A good way of doing so is to take a tour of the local meat supplier.

Gluten-free
Currently, Health Canada states any product labelled gluten free must not contain “wheat, including spelt and kamut, or oats, barley, rye or triticale or any part thereof." In addition, products “containing oats; even if the oats are pure and uncontaminated with other cereals,” may not be labelled as gluten free. However, Health Canada is looking at revising these guidelines, as the consumption of oats may be beneficial to those with celiac disease. Keep an eye out for new labeling guidelines if you are concerned about your oat intake.

Kosher
Kosher, from the Hebrew word for pure, indicates that something is suitable to eat according to Jewish religious standards. Certain things are prohibited in order for something to be deemed kosher; for example, meat and milk products can never be mixed. The word “kosher” on a product means that a Rabbi or Rabbinical organization has deemed the product acceptable according to the Kashruth. Further, the product must display the symbol of the certifying Rabbi or Rabbinical organization.

Check in tomorrow to learn about other ambiguous claims such as natural, light, and sodium-reduced.

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