When you’re browsing through the aisles of food at your local grocery store, you’re probably looking at a few different things: the nutritional table, the ingredients and the helpings contained within the packaging. What you’re probably not paying so much attention to, however, are all of the little designations that are outlined either on the front, back or side of packaged foods… that is of course unless you’re someone with a food allergy or dietary restriction.
The various symbols and designations that you’ll find on organic bulk foods in Poplar Bluff, MO exist to tell people exactly what’s in foods (or not in them), as well as the certifications they’ve achieved. These symbols paint a picture of the food a person might purchase and alerts them to key information they need to know to accommodate their dietary needs and restrictions. Some common examples include:
- Gluten-free: A small “GF” printed on a food packaging label means that the product is certified gluten-free and that it’s manufactured without oats, grain, barley and wheat, to ensure that those people with celiac disease aren’t subjected to anything that might cause a reaction. Often times, this designation will also be applied if the food is made or packaged in a gluten-free facility.
- Non GMO: Often displayed as a circle that says “Certified Non GMO” or “USDA Organic,” on GMO foods are becoming more and more popular as concern about genetically modified ingredients rises. Many times non GMO stickers will be prevalent on fruits, vegetables and other such products, to show that they haven’t been tainted in any way.
- Non dairy: Non dairy foods can be marked in a variety of ways, but the simplest to observe are in the same fashion as a no smoking sign: a red circle with a slash through it, generally crossing out a picture of eggs, milk or cheese. Because lactose intolerance is such a prevalent illness among people, most organic bulk foods in Poplar Bluff, MO will feature this label, unless specifically made with dairy ingredients.
Also important to observe, along with these helpful labels, is the section under the ingredients on every food packaging label, which lists the ingredients that may be present within foods that can cause allergic reactions. For example, the section might read, “this product contains soy, peanuts and wheat.” Familiarizing yourself with the above labels and this section of the food packaging is going to give you peace of mind about the foods you buy.
Finally, just as important as noticing these labels is realizing that they’re not there. If you believe something to be made without a certain ingredient, yet the packaging doesn’t specify that that ingredient isn’t a part of the overall food product, it must be assumed that it’s actually included, even if it’s just trace elements. For example, for something to be considered 100 percent gluten free, it must also be manufactured in a facility that is gluten free, to avoid cross contamination—even if it’s not in a product, that product might not be truly considered gluten free if it’s subject to cross contamination!
Be diligent of your labels and get to know the symbols that are critical to your dietary needs!