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Food Facts: QR Codes, GMOs, and other trends in packaged foods.
Courtesy of Visit Jacksonville
By Tracy Thomas, Doctor's Wife &
Mother of Four.
Dr. Thomas recently wrote a blog post
about the advantages of buying locally grown foods, especially from farmers’
markets. We’re fortunate to live in a region where good things grow throughout
the whole year, and those foods can be brought to market very shortly after
they are harvested. No preservatives and no packaging.
One thing Dr. Thomas didn’t mention is
that those fresh foods generally don’t require labelling. What you see is what
you get. Bananas are bananas, tomatoes are tomatoes, and potatoes are potatoes.
It’s fairly straightforward.
However, for lots of reasons, many of us
are not able to go one hundred percent natural in our food choices. Most people
buy packaged foods at least some of the time. When it comes to packaged foods,
it’s very important to read and understand the labels.
The Food and Drug Administration and
Food Labeling Requirements
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
According to the official FDA website,
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for assuring that foods
sold in the United States are safe, wholesome and properly labeled. This
applies to foods produced domestically, as well as foods from foreign
The FDA website has a great deal of
information about lists of ingredients, how foods should be labelled, and much
more. There’s even information on how companies should figure out serving sizes
to include with their food labels.
Comedian Brian Regan tells jokes about
the serving size for fig newtons. The serving size on the label that he saw was
two cookies. He asked, “Who eats two cookies?” The serving size for his ice
cream was half a cup. “Who eats half a cup?”
Nutritional information is generally
presented per serving. In other words, the number of calories printed on the
label is the number of calories per serving, not per container. It’s important
to understand that when making food choices. If the container has three
servings in it and you like to eat the whole thing, the calories, grams of fat,
etc. all have to be multiplied by three.
QR Codes and Food Labels
One recent trend in food labelling is
the use of Quick Response codes. They’re also known as QR codes and they
consist of black and white blocks of shapes, lines, and squares that are now
seen on many products including packaged foods. QR codes can be scanned with
smart phone apps. Once scanned, information about the product can be accessed.
President Obama recently signed a law
requiring food companies to flag genetically modified ingredients in plain
writing, an icon developed by regulators, or with digitally readable QR codes.
The new law allows companies to disclose the presence of GMOs using QR codes
rather than words on labels. This news was recently covered in a Wall Street
So, for some food products, the only way
to get nutritional information is with the QR codes. That’s fine for people who
have an app, but it’s tough luck for people who don’t have an app. Here are two
of the apps that are now available.
QR Code Reader: To scan a QR code or
barcode, simply open the app, point the camera at the code, and you’re done.
There’s no need to take a photo or press a button. The app will automatically
recognize any code your camera is pointing at.
Shazam: According to the company website,
this app is “one of the world’s most popular apps, used by more than 100
million people each month to magically connect to the world around
them.” This app does much more than read QR Codes.
Growing concerns about Genetically
“GMOs are organisms that have been
created through the application of transgenic, gene-splicing techniques that
are part of biotechnology.” OrganicItsWorthIt
One thing that many people have become
concerned about in their food is the presence of Genetically Modified Organisms
(GMOs). Genetic Engineering, the science of GMOs, allows genetic material (DNA)
from one species to be transferred into another species. The result is
organisms with combinations of genes from plants, animals, bacteria, and even
viral gene pools.
Genetic engineering is a new science and
there are a host of unknowns about genetically engineered crops and GMOs.
Research is accumulating which suggests that GMOs may not be safe. If GMOs are
in products, many consumers want to be aware of it and they deserve to have the
means to find that important information. Many consumers want to avoid GMOs as
much as they possibly can.
If you’re concerned about GMOs, as
everyone should be, start looking for the Certified NON GMO label on the food
products you purchase.
The trend toward fewer ingredients
Another interesting trend in the food
industry is the movement toward fewer ingredients.In fact, fewer
ingredients is now being used as a selling point for many foods. Many
people feel that fewer ingredients equates to more natural and better for the
body. There’s certainly some logic to that.
Products ranging from chocolates by
Hershey to ice cream by Haagen Dazs to snack bars from General Mills now
consist of fewer ingredients than similar products in the past. The Wall Street
Journal recently published an interesting article about this trend in packaged
Take back your health. Know what you’re
putting into your body.
It’s extremely important to know what
you’re putting into your body. The human body is complicated and it requires
good foods in order to run optimally. If you can’t find the ingredients of a
food product, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. If you need to get an app to
read QR Codes, I encourage you not to put that off. Download an app and start
This article discusses the importance of
reading food labels and how to read food labels. I have also discussed
nutritional information that is now available through QR codes, the trend of
some food producers toward using fewer ingredients, and GMOs in food products.
If you have a comment about this
article, please leave it in the comments section below. If you know of someone
who might benefit from the information in this blog, please share it with your
friends and colleagues, and also on social media.
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At Vibrant Life, we address all of the
key elements to add vibrance and vitality to your life. This includes
nutrition, chiropractic care, and fitness. If you need to consult with a
chiropractor about your neck, back, or any other health concern, please contact
our office to set up an appointment.
Tracy Thomas is the Vice President of
the Vibrant Life Health Center. After experiencing the transformative power of
Chiropractic and proper nutrition in her own life, Tracy made it her personal mission
to help others to find their own paths to true health and wellness. Tracy is
dedicated to developing and providing the best care available to patients at
the Vibrant Life Health Center. She helps clients implement and stick to
programs that lead to positive lifestyle changes. Tracy is sought after by
chiropractic practices throughout the country for training and consultation
pertaining to the implementation of nutrition programs.