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Food Label Claims Continue To Cause Confusion

April 1, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
At a recent agriculture meeting in Nebraska, a state farm bureau executive explained the real meaning of labels like “hormone free,” organic, and “locally grown.” The “hormone free” label, for example, indicates that no synthetic hormones were given to the animal. But both raw cabbage and humans have thousands of nanograms of estrogen in them naturally. And the label is meaningless on things like chicken because USDA does not allow added hormones in raising poultry or hogs. Furthermore, many foods claim to be organic, but only those actually regulated by USDA are "USDA Organic." Another area of confusion and even rancor is genetic modification. It is important for producers to be candid and passionate when discussing GMOs, because there are some genuinely valuable advances in the science. A new genetic modification for apples, for example, reduces food waste by preventing browning that can cause people to throw out perfectly good apples. Without the browning, the apples have a longer shelf life.[Image Credit: © US Department of Agriculture]
Tiffany Stoiber, "'Mostly a marketing tactic:' Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation director provides guide to deciphering food labels", The Grand Island Independent (Nebraska), April 01, 2019, © BH Media Group, Inc.
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