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Decoding Food Label Nutrition Claims: Part 2

In case you missed part 1, here’s where you can read about the basic types of claims and what some of them mean.

Now let’s dissect the terms healthy, natural and organic:

Healthy – The FDA is currently re-evaluating the word healthy, so stay tuned the next few months for their updated definition. Currently, food manufacturers are allowed label products as “healthy” if they (1) not low in total fat, but have a fat profile makeup of mostly monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fatty acids, or (2) contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of potassium or vitamin D.

Natural - the FDA has not developed an official definition for use of the term natural. However, the term may be used if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.


  • Organic - can be used to label any product that contains a minimum of 95% organic ingredients, excluding salt and water.

  • 100% Organic - can be used to label any product that contains 100% organic ingredients, excluding salt and water.

  • Made with Organic …- can be used to label a product that contains at least 70% organically produced ingredients, excluding salt and water.

  • Specific organic ingredients - may be listed in the ingredient statement of products containing less than 70% organic contents. For example, Ingredients: water, barley, beans, organic tomatoes, salt.

- Contribution by Amanda Vetter, Dietetic Intern


Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). "Natural" on Food Labeling. Retrieved April 15, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm456090.htm

Duyff, R. (2012). Chapter 12 Savy Shopping. In American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide (4th ed., pp. 274-314). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Labeling & Nutrition - Structure/Function Claims. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2017, from


Labeling & Nutrition - Label Claims for Conventional Foods and Dietary Supplements. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm111447.htm

Labeling & Nutrition - Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (11. Appendix C: Health Claims). (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm064919.htm

Labeling Organic Products. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2017, from https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/Labeling%20Organic%20Products%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

Organic Labeling Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2017, from https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/organic-labeling-standards

Rizzo, N. (2017, January). Decoding Food Label Claims. Food and Nutrition , 22-24.

What ingredients can be utilized in the 5% of non-organic ingredients allowed in a processed product labeled as “organic”? (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2017, from https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/3%20Nonorganic%20Ingredients%20-%205%25%20Rule%20FINAL%20RGK%20V2.pdf

#nutritionlabels #organic

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