Food Terms

  1. Organic

    Organic

    Food that is marketed as "Organic" has received special certification that is based on adherence to organic standards set by both international organizations and national government. Organic food is food that is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations and create a product without the use of most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.  Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones and have regular access to pasture.  In the U.S., before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards.  Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too."

  2. Whole-grain

    Whole Grain

    Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed. The legal definition that something can be called "whole grain" is that it has at least 51% whole grain ingredients even though the rest of the product is "enriched," meaning that it is refined. Look for products that specifically state 100% whole grain and take the time to read the actual ingredient list and total fiber count. Usually whole grain products have 2 grams of fiber per about 100 calories. If you see the yellow "Whole Grain Council" stamp, check whether it says "100% whole grain," otherwise it also contains some refined grains.

  3. Homogenized

    Homogenized

    Process of breaking up the fat globules in cream to such a small size that they remain suspended evenly in the milk rather than separating out and floating to the surface. The beneficial fat in milk is broken up when milk is homogenized. Smaller molecules of cholesterol and fat are generally believed to produce free radicals in the body. These free radicals are thought to be partially responsible for premature aging and can be damaging to the heart and organs. This problem can be prevented by pasteurizing homogenized milk during or after the homogenization process. Homogenization also destroys proteins, vitamins and bacteria considered good for the body. The vitamins in milk are important for bone development and strength, and milk must be fortified to make up for the loss in vitamins. However homogenization gets rid of the dead bacteria level that forms after pasteurization. It also makes the milk whiter, which is often very appealing to the consumer. Enriched – Heavy processing and refining causes a loss of vitamins and minerals normally found in raw food. To return lost nutrients, manufacturers replace what was lost during the refining process. Consumers often think enriched means 'added vitamins and minerals' but really it means these foods had to be repaired to provide nutrient value. For example, if the food originally had iron, but the iron was lost during the refining process, the food will be 'enriched' to add the iron back into the food.

  4. Irradiated-food

    Irradiated Food

    Irradiated Food has been exposed to ionizing radiation in order to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, or insects that may be present. This process is completed in order to prevent illness from food borne bacteria. Irradiating food may also inhibit sprouting or delay ripening. The process damages the genetic material of microorganisms in the food so that they can no longer survive or multiply in food. Irradiation does not make food radioactive and does not increase human exposure to radiation. Public reaction to food irradiation is much the same as earlier apprehension about microwave ovens. Much opposition stems from fears associated with nuclear activity or the production of nuclear weapons. Others fear that irradiation may produce substances not present in non-irradiated foods. Once accepted, there will be a demand for irradiated foods spurred by a desire for safer food. But until greater consumer acceptance prevails, food irradiation will not be widely used in the food processing industry. The Food and Drug Administration sets the limits of the doses of irradiation permitted in foods. Irradiated foods are required to be labeled with a logo and the words "Treated with Radiation" or "Treated by Irradiation." Irradiation, however, can never be a substitute for safe food handling as food can easily become re-contaminated if not handled properly.

  5. Fair-trade

    Fair Trade

    Products labeled as "fair trade" come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated both in wage as well as social and environmental working conditions. The money helps farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities. It also teaches disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage and purchase of these types of goods may improve an entire community’s day-to-day lives.

  6. Gmo

    GMO

    A Genetically Modified Organism is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using recombinant DNA technology. Currently, GMO most commonly refers to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques. These plants have been modified in the lab to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides, pest tolerance, disease resistance, cold tolerance, drought tolerance, and even improved nutritional content. Genetic engineering can create plants with the exact desired trait very rapidly and with great accuracy. Many concerns exist regarding the lack of knowledge of long-term effects of consuming GMO products on human health and for that reason labeling of all GMO products has been proposed.

  7. Enriched

    Enriched

    Heavy processing and refining causes a loss of vitamins and minerals normally found in raw food. To return lost nutrients, manufacturers replace what was lost during the refining process. Consumers often think enriched means 'added vitamins and minerals' but really it means these foods had to be repaired to provide nutrient value. For example, if the food originally had iron, but the iron was lost during the refining process, the food will be 'enriched' to add the iron back into the food.

  8. Preservative

    Preservative

    A natural or synthetic substance that is added to food to prevent bacterial or fungal growth, prevent oxidation (which can lead to discoloration or rancidity), or inhibit natural ripening of fruits and vegetables. Generally preservatives are used to increase the shelf life, preserve the natural characteristics, and/or preserve the appearance of the food. Some preservatives have induced allergic reactions, while others have been linked to cancer, asthma, and birth defects. According to an article written for the FDA, "it's almost impossible to eat food without preservatives added by manufacturers," unless you eat exclusively organic or fresh food that you cook yourself.

  9. Concentrated

    Concentrated

    These beverages are produced from combining fruit juice, concentrated fruit juice or fruit syrup with water and sugar.  The minimum fruit content is 10% Fruit.

  10. Gluten-free

    Gluten Free

    The GF logo indicates that a product has received independent verification of quality, integrity, and purity of products. Products carrying the GF logo represents unmatched reliability and for meeting strict gluten-free standards. GFCO is the only gluten-free certification program in the world. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, malts and triticale and may also be used as a food additive.

  11. Pasteurized

    Pasteurized

    A process of heating a food, usually liquid, to a specific temperature for a definite length of time, and then cooling it immediately. This process slows microbial growth in food and is not intended to kill all microbes in the food. Instead pasteurization aims to reduce the number of viable pathogens so they are unlikely to cause disease. However pasteurization does destroy some enzymes as well as possibly beneficial microbes.

  12. Bgh

    BGH

    Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is a synthetic (man-made) hormone that is marketed to dairy farmers to increase milk production in cows. It has been used in the United States since it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, but its use is not permitted in the European Union, Canada, and some other countries. ALL commercial milk in America contains BGH/rBGH unless specifically labeled that it does not. The government has no requirements on farmers to label if or how much Bovine Growth Hormone they use in their milk. Furthermore, all cheese in America follows the same set of rules (European cheese is BGH-free as they do not allow farmers to use it at all). There is some evidence that insulin IGF-1 has the ability to affect the state of a healthy breast cancer cell and mutate it into an abnormal state. Head of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, Dr. Samuel Epstein, even, "expressed grave concerns about the risks of breast cancer from consumption of rBGH milk." The other concern is evidence of IGF-1’s ability to absorb directly into the intestinal wall, move into the bloodstream and negatively affect the hormones. Other detrimental health concerns include colon cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and increased cancer risks to infants. Cows treated with rBGH rate of developing udder infections (mastitis) increases 80%. These cows are given more antibiotics than cows not given rBGH and also have a much shorter life span.

  13. Fruit-juice

    Fruit Juice

    Only pure, 100% fruit or vegetable juice can be labeled as "juice". Generally, the cloudier the juice appears, the more nutritious it is. There should be some sediment at the bottom of a juice container, which is a reminder of the juice’s origins.

  14. Fruit-drink

    Fruit Drink

    These beverages are produced from combining fruit juice, concentrated fruit juice or fruit syrup with water and sugar.  The minimum fruit content is 10% Fruit.

  15. Fortified

    Fortified

    Adding vitamins or minerals to food in addition to the levels that were originally found before the food was refined. When foods are fortified, they will have more vitamins and minerals after they are refined than they did before they are refined. "Fortified" is often misused by companies who produce cereal and fruit drinks. Cereal boxes will often say 'fortified with essential vitamins and minerals'. The cereal usually contains high amounts of sugar. Adding vitamins and minerals to the cereal gives it more nutritional value, but it doesn't change the high amount of sugar that is present.

  16. Reduced-calorie

    Reduced Calorie

    The product contains twenty-five percent fewer calories than the original product.

  17. Low-calorie

    Low Calorie

    The product contains forty or fewer calories per serving.

  18. Calorie-free

    Calorie Free

    The product contains fewer than 5 calories per serving.

  19. Lean

    Lean

    The product contains fewer than 10 grams of fat overall, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and no more than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.

  20. Light

    Light

    The product contains at minimum either, one third fewer calories or one half the fat or one half the sodium of the original version of the product.

  21. Reduced-fat

    Reduced Fat

    The product contains at least 25 percent less fat than the full fat product.

  22. Low-fat

    Low Fat

    The product contains three grams of fat or less per serving.

  23. Fat-free

    Fat Free

    The product contains less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving.

  24. Cholesterol-free

    Cholesterol Free

    The product contains fewer than 2 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat.

  25. No-salt-added

    No Salt Added

    The food processor has not added any salt during production of a product. However, such a product may be naturally high in sodium.

  26. Reduced-sodium

    Reduced Sodium

    The product contains sodium levels that have been reduced by at least 75 percent from the original product.

  27. Low-sodium

    Low Sodium

    The product contains no more than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.

  28. Very-low-sodium

    Very Low Sodium

    The product contains no more than 35 milligrams of sodium per serving.

  29. Sodium-free

    Sodium Free

    The product contains no more than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving.