It is surprising how little we actually know about what is hiding within an ingredients's label. Our latest Tip of the Week video shed some light upon some interesting products containing shocking allergens. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Who would have believed that many multi-vitamins contain soy and nuts, or that more than 20% of medications contain lactose. Learning how to read labels is a necessity, one that unfortunately is quite difficult to accomplish. Especially when much of what a product contains seems to be encrypted and/or not properly laid out. Here are some easy tips to remember when reading through product labels.
- Such is the case with vitamins, one must be careful with soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, household cleaners et al. Be wary, food allergens lurk almost everywhere and depending upon your level of sensitivity they can go from irritating to deadly.
- Size matters, so taking that into consideration one must realize that ingredients may vary from a regular box of cereal to family size.
- Just because a product is from the same company does not mean that it was produced within the same factory. Make sure that your specific says "nut-free facility."
- Sugar and spice are not always nice, because spice has a very loose definition. Understand what constitutes as a spice and, if need be, contact the manufacturer.
- On occasion products may blatantly state their allergens such as soy, but yet may have associated allergens or a form of soy-bean oil within the ingredients. Make it a point to find out the association web between allergens as well as the presence of oils not explicitly stated.
- Keep a keen eye out for vernaculars such as albumin instead of egg or whey for milk. Familiarize yourself with these synonyms and learn a few of the technical words as well such as xylitol or monosodium glutamate.
- Food labels change over time and as a result, a label that is current today may be outdated tomorrow. So always keep an eye out for changes.
- If it is natural flavoring do not always deem it safe, many times there are allergens in flavoring, regardless of it being natural or not. Complete a background check to make sure.
- Merely because a product abides by the regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not mean that they correspond with FALCPA labeling requirements. Unfortunately these two organizations have yet to piece together a clear and concise standard for food allergens, so as of now we must follow their guidelines with a grain of salt.
Now that we have discussed a few things to consider when shopping for your next batch of products, please let me know what strategies you use to help make shopping a safer chore.
And do not forget to tune in next week for the next episode of Tip of the Week!