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9 Most Misleading Food Labels (PHOTOS)

Huffington Post     First Posted: 06/20/10 06:12 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 05:10 PM ET

We believe in helping consumers make good choices about what they are eating, for themselves and the environment. Unfortunately, many food companies use labels that have little or no meaning to obscure the truth about what's ACTUALLY in our food.

People are drawn to terms like "All Natural" and "Made With Whole Grains." "Natural" labeled food generated $22.3 billion in 2008, up 10% from 2007, and 54% of all cereals are now labeled "whole grain," including plenty processed, sugary ones.

The Center For Science in the Public Interest recently released a 158-page report, "Food Labeling Chaos", detailing the misinformation prevalent in the food industry. While the report has prompted the FDA to crack down on some of the specific products mentioned, many more go unnoticed and unregulated.

Since we're strong believers in taking the veil off processed foods, we've put together 9 of the most misleading food labels to help you safely navigate the grocery aisles. For further information, please see the CSPI's report.

"All Natural"
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“All Natural” was the second most common claim made on new food products in 2008. Unfortunately, both the FDA and USDA have vague rules about this phrase, and have let manufacturers that incorrectly use this claim remain in the marketplace. Products like Hunt’s Tomato Sauce and “All Natural” Snapple Tea contain citric acid as an additive.  Hunt’s Tomato Sauce’s claim as being “All Natural” is even more misleading considering the product is made of reconstituted tomato paste, and not whole tomatoes crushed soon after being picked, as many would assume. Some products containing high-fructose corn syrup (made through complex chemical industrial processes) are even able to get away with the “All Natural” label. 


Certain "All Natural" deli meats have ingredients that are clearly additives one would not find if they cooked and sliced up their own natural turkey at home. The USDA also lets meat and poultry products claim to be “All Natural” when injected with beef or chicken broth, which not only increases the sodium levels to unnatural and less healthy levels, but the water inflates the weight of the product, increasing the price.   "All Natural" is not a label enforced strictly enough at this point to be trusted.
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5 Most Misleading Food Labels
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