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Understanding food labels
Understanding food labels
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Food labels

  1. 1. Watch Out For the Labels! How Being More Conscious of Food Labels Can March Sustainability Into Your Kitchen A PRESENTATION BY SARAH MILLER AND MICHAELA
  2. 2. What Food Labels Tell Us  Food labels can tell us the useful information we need to know about the food we are purchasing.  Conveniently, they state nutritional facts such as sodium and sugar counts  Dietary facts such as calorie and total fat count  Serving size  And the daily value percentage of these items  But what do labels not tell us?
  3. 3. What Labels Don’t Tell Us  While nutritional facts are important, what most food labels don’t tell us are some of the essentials to a sustainable food system  Unless it’s labeled Fair Trade, most labels do not tell us how the product was grown or made. Was it made at an establishment that uses more resources than they return to the earth?  Currently, it is not mandatory to label GMO products in the US. Vermont will become the first state to make it mandatory to label GMO products. High fructose corn syrup, a genetically modified product, is found in very many common foods such as syrup, juice, bread, and cookies.
  4. 4. What Labels Don’t Tell Us  These deceptive food labels, it is difficult to be a smart consumer. Buying common food items that contain genetically modified ingredients contributes to the amount of man made chemicals in the environment.  This is in violation with the second system condition of a sustainable society, which states that a sustainable society is not subject to an increasing amount of chemical substances in the environment.
  5. 5. BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)  This common additive used to prevent oxidation in a wide variety of foods and cosmetics is listed by the National Toxicology Program to be a human carcinogen.  It is also used in jet fuels, rubber petroleum products, transformer oil and embalming fluid.  Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) warns that BHT should not be allowed to enter the environment, can cause liver damage, and is harmful to aquatic organisms.
  6. 6. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)  Studies have shown that the reactive carbonyl molecules can cause tissue damage that may lead to obesity, diabetes, and also heart disease.  HFCS is made from genetically modified corn and processed with genetically modified enzymes.  Studies have recently revealed that nearly half of tested samples of HFCS contained mercury.
  7. 7. Yellow #5 and other Dyes  Almost all colorants approved for use in food are derived from coal tar and may contain up to 10ppm of lead and arsenic.  Most coal tar colors could potentially cause cancer.
  8. 8. Propylene glycol alginate (E405)  This food thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier is derived from alginic acid esterified and combined with propylene glycol.  It has many industrial uses including automotive antifreezes and airport runway de-icers.
  9. 9. Aspartame  Aspartame is one of the most common artificial sweeteners in use today.  It is used in many foods and beverages because it is about 200 times sweeter than sugar, so much less of it can be used to give the same level of sweetness. This, in turn, lowers the calories in the food or beverage.  Can lead to cancer, strokes, diabetes, and heart disease.
  10. 10. Xanthan Gum  Is used to thicken foods like salad dressing  It is also used in hair gels and concrete.
  11. 11. Remember..  Ingredients on product packaging are listed according to quantity; the ingredient making up the largest quantity is listed first, and so on.  Food producers are getting creative. Many of the old ingredients names have changed to a analogous name.  We are what we eat!  Knowing what deceiving ingredients we are eating can prevent potential future health related issues.  Becoming aware of the information of food labels can march food sustainability into your kitchen.
  12. 12. Discussion  Look in your pantry and pull out two food items. Find two ingredients that you do not know about. a. list the food item b. list the ingredient c. list what the compound is made of d. list the health effects

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