Food Scientist Says Food Labeling Can Be Misleading


(Le Mars) — Do you look at food labels when selecting your food items? An Iowa State University Extension State Food Nutritionist and professor of Food Sciences says rather than looking at the cover label of a food item, consumers should turn to the back or the side of the package and read the ingredients
label. Ruth Litchfield was the speaker at the Dine At The County Line event held last evening. Litchfield says food companies tend to mislead consumers into thinking the product may be healthier based on the cover labeling.

Litchfield tells of an example of deceptive labeling found on two separate fruit snacks.

The Food Science instructor says many times food companies will make a statement to play on the consumer’s emotions when purchasing a food product.
She points to poultry products as an example when companies say their poultry contains no antibiotics, when in fact no poultry products contain antibiotics because it is against the law to do so.

Another tactic food companies may use in their labeling is to say their product is GMO free, meaning their product does not contain any Genetically Modified Organisms. Litchfield says only ten crops have been approved to be genetically modified, and when food companies make the claim, it is merely
a sales tactic.

Litchfield says food labeling can be informative for a consumer, but it can also be confusing.

The goal, or mission, of the Dine At The County Line is to provide accurate information about food production to influential consumers such as teachers, health officials, and elected political officials. Litchfield praised the efforts of the organizers of the “Dine At The County Line” for creating the platform that allows conversations to take place regarding food production.

Nearly 130 people attended last evening’s “Dine At The County Line” event held on a picturesque farm owned by Lowell and Judy Vos between Le Mars and Lawton.