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food fraud DON’T GET TRICKED BY THESE FIVE COMMON MISLEADING TERMS ON FOOD PACKAGING. BY ALEXANDRA BLACK, MPH, RD, LDN CERTAIN WORDS AND PHRASES MAY BE HIGHLY EFFECTIVE FOR MARKETERS, but they aren’t always very helpful to the average consumer. In fact, they can be downright deceptive. Food retailers and producers have refined to an exact science just how salty, sweet and crunchy to make our foods to achieve optimal sales, and they’ve also honed in on the perfect messaging to make sure you buy their brands due to perceived health advantages. Misleading marketing terms for food products are nothing new. In the 1990s it was “low fat”; in the 2000s it was “low carb.” Now, we have a new wave of marketing misdirection designed to make foods appear healthier than they really are. Below are five phrases food marketers currently use to encourage you to buy their wares—and tips to avoid being fooled. 1 ALL NATURAL term can appear legally on any food, no matter how or where it was made. Because of recent lawsuits, the FDA does plan to regulate “natural” and “all natural” in the future. But for now, it’s important to remem- ber that the term has no objective meaning. Reality Check: While you can assume that a fresh apple or pint of blueberries is in fact “natural,” take the term with a grain of salt if you see it on a packaged food, especially if the food is a “healthier” version of a familiar junk food, such as Natural Cheetos. Thinkstock The terms “all natural” or “natu- ral” are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or any other regulatory body. This means that the 20 IHRSA www.healthcl .com 18 IHRSA | | www.healthcl ub ub s s .com