Food packages entice consumers with promises of great taste, wholesomeness, and health. Words like “all natural”, “low fat”, “diet”, “fat free”, “nonfat”, “sugar-free”, and “low calorie” are prominently displayed on many food products. The Nutrition Facts and the Ingredients list which are required by law on packaged foods can be used to determine the veracity of some of these claims.
Food packages generally have two types of consumer information required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Nutrition Facts section defines a serving size and describes the weights of macronutrients (fat, carbohydrate, protein) in a serving and the percentages that these macronutrients represent of the daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for a 2000-Calorie diet. Additional information may be provided for specific minerals, vitamins, or other components of interest such as cholesterol. The second type of consumer information is the List of Ingredients which contains the basic components of the product in order of decreasing weight. Since the basic components must be listed, products containing ingredients consisting of several components must list the components in parentheses. A breakfast cereal containing crystallized ginger must list it as “crystallized ginger (ginger root, sugar)”. Manufacturers sometimes add explanatory notes about an ingredient, e.g., “BHT (a preservative)”.
The ingredients are listed in order of decreasing weight in the product. From this, we know that the first item listed in the ingredients weighs more than the second ingredient listed and so on. Looking carefully, you may notice that the “vegetable oil” consists of “partially hydrogenated cottonseed and/or soybean oil”. Partially hydrogenated oil is only produced artificially at high temperatures with metal catalysts in chemical plants, which means that it is not natural at all. Hydrogenation fundamentally degrades the nutritional properties of natural vegetable oils and creates trans fats that cause cardiovascular diseases. The claim on the front of a box of “100% Natural” would clearly be a misrepresentation of the contents.
For this assignment, 1. You are to look at the ingredient list of your favorite snack food. It could be anything from a bag of chips, pizza, brownies or carrot sticks (Whatever is your “go to” snack.) 2. Do a little investigation as to what each ingredient is and you will write about any “interesting” ingredients. (i.e. look the ingredients up on the internet and find out what they are.) 3. Write at least a one page summary of what you found out about your favorite snack. (Is it really good for you if it states that it is, does it contain any potential harmful ingredients…) a. The paper must have 1”margins, 12 pt Times New Roman font, and be double spaced. b. Use basic spelling, grammar, and paragraphing c. DO NOT put anything at the top of the paper except for the “Title” of your paper. Then begin writing. 4. The paper should include key points like the following, but not limited to: a. What your snack food is. b. What are the ingredients? But DO NOT simply copy and paste or list them. Give descriptions. c. What interesting or alarming facts did you find out about any of the ingredients? d. If your snack food makes the claim of being “100% Natural” or “0g trans fat , it is a clear misrepresentation of the contents? e. Will you continue to eat it in the future?