How many of us really read and understand food labels? Food labeling has always been tricky. Often the terminology can be misleading.
For example, a zero calorie food might have up to five calories. That might not be enough calories to make any noticeable difference however it is a surprise to unsuspecting buyers. Shouldn’t zero mean none?
Some companies play with words in an attempt to make their foods more appealing. Terms such as low-fat,low calorie,and lean can increase sales.
The Nestle group, makers of Lean Cuisine meals, recently put forth a proposition to make it possible to use the lean label on foods such as sandwiches and pizzas, therefore expanding its use.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the proposition earlier this month.
This means we will most likely see an explosion in foods labelled lean as manufacturers take advantage of this new decision.
To qualify however a food must contain no more than eight grams of total fat (of which no more than 3.5 milligrams can be saturated fat) and 80 milligrams of sodium. Before mixed dish food types were unable to carry the label because foods which could not be measured in a cup quantity and weighing less than six ounces were excluded.
The decision is meant to assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices.
However, the use of the word lean does not seem like the best method for doing so. Perhaps consumers should be taught to read labels instead and choose their own label.