Read Your Labels Day
Get the 411 on what's in the foods and beverages you're consuming! April 11 has been declared "Read Your Labels Day" by consumer advocacy group, Citizens for Health (www.citizens.org).
Families are encouraged to read the labels on products in their kitchen pantries and refrigerators, and on grocery store shelves. Look for the "Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid," a list of today's most worrisome sweeteners, preservatives, and industrial chemical additives. These include high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and monosodium glutamate.
Take photos of these products and share them on Instagram using the hashtag #ReadYourLabels.
Through its website FoodIdentityTheft.com, the non-profit organization keeps consumers informed about food safety issues. On its blog, it has provided info on each of these 10 most controversial ingredients that can be found in hundreds of processed foods, including what they're used for and why consumers should avoid products that contain them.
"Harmful food additives can contribute to many serious medical conditions that include diabetes, obesity, and heart disease," notes Harvard MD, Dr. Eva Selhub. "Eliminating these 'top 10' additives from your diet is an excellent start to healthier eating."
While many shoppers scan the nutrition labels on packages looking for such things as saturated fats or sodium content, an independent study published in 2011 by the food and beverage research group Mintel reported that less than half of consumers surveyed read the ingredients labels on the foods they bought in supermarkets.
"The majority of us don't check the list of ingredients on food package labels," said Jim Turner, who chairs Citizens for Health. "Many of the big food manufacturers are counting on this. If we don't read or understand the ingredients in their products, they can put pretty much whatever they want to into our food."