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Nutrition – Clearing the Confusion of Food Labels

Consumer Reports rates seals and claims to help you understand the meaning behind them and so you know which ones to trust.

During a trip to the grocery store you’ll find all kinds of claims and seals on food packaging, but experts warn the labels don’t always mean what you think. Consumer Reports analyzed many of the claims made on today’s food to clear the confusion.

“We wanted to make sure of it for consumers and help them understand which are the claims that I can trust,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, senior policy analyst, Consumer Reports.

Products that are Non-GMO Project Verified must not be made with ingredients derived from crops grown with genetically engineered seed or with genetically engineered animals (including clones).

For products labeled Non-GMO, Vallaeys says look for a Non-GMO product verified seal, which has great verification requirements, like sending food to a lab to make sure it’s Non-GMO.

By federal law, organic foods must meet Department of Agriculture standards regarding the way crops are farmed, how farm animals are raised, how foods are processed, and which types of ingredients can be used in the product. This applies even if the product only lists “organic” on the label without using the USDA Organic seal.

For organic food shoppers, Consumer Reports gives the USDA Organic Seal an excellent rating.

Unlike packaging that says “Natural” or “All Natural,” which they rated as poor because it means different things for different foods and is not regulated by a government agency.

A "no antibiotics" claim is verified when it is accompanied by the Department of Agriculture's USDA Processed Verified shield or USDA Organic seal on the package.

When it comes to claims of “No Antibiotics,” Vallaeys says look for “No Antibiotics Ever” and then a seal to accompany it, such as USDA processed verified or USDA organic.

For those concerned about how animals are raised, check for seals like American Grassfed, Certified Humane and Animal Welfare Approved.

Check out my complete report on CBS News below.

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