Are Grocery Labels Misleading? - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Are Grocery Labels Misleading?

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A consumer watchdog investigation into the confusing labels at the grocery -- organic, natural, cage-free?

There are some new answers to that question: are we buying what we think?

David Kerley has details.

Head down the grocery aisle...and you are bombarded.... with labels..  natural.... whole grains...

But do you really know what it all means?

Look at this cereal box... pictures of berries....are there any inside?

That’s Michael Jacobson... head of the center for science in the public interest... who has been battling what he considers misleading or confusing labels for decades.

The food industry thinks this is a war and their livelihoods depend on you buying their product.

Jacobson says that cereal has red and blue food coloring...added... to look like berries.

How are they able to do that?

Even though the f-d-a says labels can't be false or misleading.... it also

Says just because there's a picture of berries....that doesn't mean you're

Actually getting pieces of berries.

Kellogg’s says this picture just depicts "the flavor of the product."

A recent consumer reports survey....found that a third of those questioned...think natural is the same as organic... which it's not.

The term organic is tightly regulated.   But the FDA has no definition for the use of the word "natural."

A lot of products use "that term".... but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of non-natural stuff inside.

This drink mix....says "natural lemonade flavor."

You might envision a lemonade stand but look at the ingredients.... they include artificial sweeteners... and a list of hard to pronounce synthetic substances.

“But it's one of those buzz words you put it on a product more people will grab it people might pay a little bit more for it.”

 Kraft puts less than 2 percent of natural flavor inside...some of that is lemon.

How about cage free eggs.... that can cost as much as 50 percent more.

You may be thinking chickens out in a pasture...  but if it doesn't say pasture raised... it may look more like inside this building... the chickens certainly aren't caged...but they aren't ranging far...

“It’s better than if they were in a cage that's for sure.”

And one more thing... on poultry products, you might see labels touting no hormones..... well guess what....

“Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones or steroids.”

You can’t put hormones or steroids in a chicken by law and therefore we're not doing it.

So where will you find real answers?

Our expert says... it's the fine print...the ingredient list.

So... don't forget your glasses the next time you shop.

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