There’s a lot of words being thrown around out there in the world of food these days.  I thought I’d take the time to try and break some of them down for you.

Organic –  Organic foods are a heavily regulated industry.  They are foods that are produced that do not use the use of synthetic or chemical fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation.  Genetic engineering may not be used.  If livestock are involved, they must be reared with regular access to pasture and without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.  In processed organic foods, 95% of the foods total plan and animal ingredients must be organic.

Cage Free – this term is usually referring to the eggs you are buying and how the animals were treated.  The flock is provided shelter and can roam freely in a building or enclosed area with unlimited food and water.

Free Range -.  The flock is provided shelter with unlimited food and water as well as provided freedom to the outdoors

Natural – required by the USDA, “natural” must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients.  This only applies to meat and egg products.  There ARE NO standards or regulations regarding the labeling of natural foods that DO NOT contain meat or eggs.

Grass fed – the majority of nutrients are grass.  However, again, according to USDA regulations, the grass fed label DOES NOT limit the use of antibiotics, hormones or pesticides.

Pasture – the USDA has not developed a Federal definition for pasture raised products

No added hormones – Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones or steroids in poultry and pork

Multi Grain – A product made with several grains, usually bread.  If the word enriched wheat flour is one of the first ingredients, then the product is NOT made of WHOLE grains.  Whole grains include the whole seed of the germ.  Refined grains, such as enriched wheat flour have had part of the grain removed.

Whole Grain – Wheat, rice, corn, oats, or rye that have not been refined.  In other words, the whole grain is retained and not stripped like in white breads.   If given the choice, choose WHOLE grain over MULTI grain.

Whole Wheat – a product made with whole wheat flour

White Whole Wheat Flour – a  relatively new product is the introduction of white whole wheat flour.  This is wheat flour that has been milled using white wheat vs the traditional red wheat.  It has more nutrients than the white flour and is now found in breads in supermarkets.

Enriched – Nutrients added BACK IN to a product after they were lost due to processing.  Many breads and pastas are enriched foods due to the nutritional value of the grain being lost when making white flour for example.

Fortified – Foods that have had vitamins and minerals that are not naturally occurring added.  Orange Juice with added Calcium for example.

I hope this clears up some of the confusion  🙂



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