Sarah Davis explains what you need to know to read food labels and discusses the front of pack symbols.
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Sarah Davis: Hi, I'm Sarah Davis with the Institute of Food Technologists and today we're talking about how to read Food Labels. Right now, I'm going to discuss symbols that are used on food labels by food companies, health organizations or grocery store chains. These are symbols placed there to indicate to a consumer who might be in a hurry and they only are looking at the front of a label. This shows them that the company, health organizations or grocery store chain has identified this product as a choice that's better for consumers. There are a lot of symbols out there and this is the trend that's just started in recent years, but there are already a lot of companies, grocery stores and organizations that are using these symbols. Quite frankly, there are too many to actually to go into detail about everyone today but I would like to give you some examples, so that then the next time your food shopping, you know that they are out there and you have an idea of what to look for. These claims, these symbols are typically found on the front of a food product, similar to nutrient content claims or health claims to make it easy for consumers who are comparing products or shopping in a hurry. This is the smart spot. PepsiCo launched the Smart Spot program in 2004 to identify Better-for-You products to consumers. There is also Kellogg's which has started using Nutrition at a Glance. As you can see at the top of this product it indicates to me the calories, fat, sodium, and sugar that's found in this cereal. This is on all Kellogg's cereals and each cereal also list two other nutrients, in this case fiber and magnesium and it tells you the percent daily value for each that's found. So then you don't even have to take the time to read the nutrition facts panel, it's all right here on the front, at a glance for you. There is also the American Heart Association, has started using the heart-check mark. This symbolizes that this chunk light tuna has been certified by the American Heart Association to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over the age of two. Also, an example of a grocery store chain that's using symbols is Hannaford Brothers. They use the guiding stars symbols. A product might have zero, one, two, or three stars on it. Now if it has three stars that's considered the healthiest choice and zero star isn't so healthy and so again these can be found on the shelving, signage around the store. It might be on a meat case or it could be on labels for bakery products and meats that come from the grocery store chain itself. So that's some information about symbols from food companies, health organizations and grocery store chains that you might find on packages or around the grocery store next time you are food shopping. Next, we're going to talk about Organic Food Labels.