Have you ever read the food label on products you purchase?
Reading labels can help you make good food choices.
Here is a guide to some of the most common food labelling terms. Use this information to make quick, informed food choices that contribute to a healthy diet.
You will see "use by" dates on food that goes off quickly, such as smoked fish, meat products and ready-prepared salads. If you buy or use it after that date, some foods might not be safe any longer, even if it looks and smells fine.
"Best before" or "best if used before"
"Best before" dates appear on the frozen, dried and tinned foods. "Best before" dates are about quality, not safety. When the date is passed, it doesn't necessarily mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose its flavor and texture.
Remember: the "best before" date will only be accurate if the food is stored according to the instructions on the label, such as "store in a cool dry place" or "keep in the fridge once opened".
“Light” or “lite”
To say that a food is "light" or "lite", it must be at least 30% lower in at least one typical value, such as calories or fat, than standard products.
The label must explain exactly what has been reduced and by how much, for example "light: 30% less fat".
“Unsweetened” or “No added sugar”
This means that no sugar or sweetener has been added to the food to make it taste sweet. This doesn't mean that the food will not contain naturally occurring sugars found in fruit or milk.
These are the rules that food manufacturers must follow to prevent misleading descriptions, and there are clear guidelines on what labels on packets can and can't show.