Questions and Answers
- Why are serving sizes important?
You can make some mistakes if you look at the information about the food and forget to look at the serving size. For example, if you buy some potato chips, the package tells you how much fat is in a serving. Maybe the package says one serving is 5 potato chips. Maybe you eat 15 potato chips! That means you will have three times more fat than the label says.
- When should I look at the food labels?
The best time to look at food labels is when you are shopping. You can compare labels and decide which product to buy.
- What information should I know?
Total fat, cholesterol, and sodium should be low. A food with 5% or less is low. 20% or more is high.
Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and fiber should be 100% every day.
- Who decides what a serving size is?
The food company has to follow the government rules. The serving size should be what a normal person usually eats. However, you still have to be careful to check the serving size.
- What information is in the ingredients part of the label?
The Ingredient List shows all the ingredients that are in the food. The ingredient that has the biggest amount is the first one. The ingredient that has the smallest amount is the last one.
- What other things have to be listed?
Drinks that say they have juice have to say what percent of juice.
Some foods that people are allergic to are also listed, for example, caseinate, which comes from milk.
- Is anything new with food labels?
Yes. First, starting on January 1, 2006, the amount of trans fat has to be listed on the labels. Second, a law was passed that says food makers have to show on the label in plain language if a food has any of the eight main food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. They have to use regular language, and not scientific language. For example, instead of listing "casein" they have to say "milk".
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