Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Trendy Food Terms

Natural- The FDA and the USDA have no formal definition for "natural". The term is regulated by the FDA.
  • It can be used on food labels as long as it is truthful and not misleading, the product does not contain added colors, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.

Processed vs. Unprocessed- These terms is often misused
  • According to the Farm Bill of 2008, "a processed food is a food that has been processed to the point it undergoes a change of character"
    • Examples of processed versus unprocessed include raw nuts (unprocessed) vs. roasted nuts (processed); edemame (unprocessed) vs tofu (processed).

Slow Food- a movement, which started in Italy in 1986. It is the oposite of fast food and includes ingredients, production, preperation and consumption as they relate to cultures.
  • Now people commonly refer to slow foods as ones that are organic and prepared using traditional methods.

Whole Foods- foods that are not processed or refined and do not have added ingredients.
  • Examples are fresh produce, dairy, whole grains, meat and fish or any other foods that are in their pure forms

Organic- Defined by the USDA, foods come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic plant foods are produced without using most conventional pesticides, gertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, or sweage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing radiation.
  • A government approved certifier must inspect the farm.
  • There are currently 3 levels of organic claims for foods:
    • 100 percent organic
    • 95 percent organic
    • Made with organic ingredients- foods in which at least 75% of ingredients are certified organic.
    • Foods containing less than 70% organic ingredients can not use the work "organic" on the product label; they are able to use "organic" items under the ingredients list.

This blog was adapted from an article in the ADA times winter 2010, written by Kyle Shandix, MS, RD, ACF

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