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Demystifying food labels II

A simple guide to understand nomenclatures we see on packaged foods

Let’s say you are looking to buy cooking oil – a staple requirement in any home.


For years, you have been accustomed to using the standard sunflower oil because it’s what your parents or in-laws bought. And as you browse through the shelves, you see a number of brands, which probably you haven’t heard of, or seen any advertisement of .

The packaging is attractive, and they support it below by saying ‘Pure and cold-pressed’.

When a brand claims to be pure, it means that it is not mixed with any other ingredient.That it contains only that ingredient. For example, pure Coconut oil or Olive oil means that it is contains 100 percent coconut and no other added ingredients.

Cold- pressed is a process of production which retains a lot of its raw flavours. Since cold pressed extracts its oil at room temperature, its acidic value if quite low. Most of its natural compositions are retained making the food tastier and rounded.

2. Natural

One would assume that when you see the word ‘natural’ on any food or meat products, you know that it came naturally from any plant or animal right? Absolutely true. But are you a 100% sure that manufacturers or brands are not using the word loosely? Does it mean that the meats are not injected with antibiotics? Think again!

Food Safety and Standards Association of India has disallowed food companies from using the words such as ‘natural’ ‘fresh’ original, traditional, pure, authentic, genuine and ‘real’ unless the product is unprocessed. The only extent to which manufacturers use the above claims is only if their products are washed, peeled, chilled and trimmed. Other than that, companies do not have the permission to use the above words on their packaging.

If these words are used within the brand name, they are required to disclaim to FSSAI that it is solely for the purposes of trademark and /or brand name.

However, as per research published in the Times of India, consumers felt that one of their barriers to eating healthy comes from a lack of understanding of labels and confusion over the technical details of heathy products.

Therefore, when you come across these words featuring anywhere on the label, we at Goodness Meter would urge you to use your discretion.

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