Youth Focus

Youth Focus
If you check the front, back and side panels of food packages, you will notice that nutrition information is generally organized in three areas.

Nutrition facts � this panel, found on the back or side of a package, contains specific product information about serving size, calories, and nutrients. Percent Daily Value (%DV) based on a 2000 calorie diet; and if the package is large enough, a footnote with the Daily Values (DVs) that provides a summary of recommended dietary intakes for important nutrients including dietary fats, sodium, and fiber, among others.

Nutrition-related claims are located on the front of a food package, these consist of nutrient content claims that describe the amount of a nutrient in the food (e.g. "low-fat") or health claims, which relate a food or food component to a disease or health-related condition (e.g. "Calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis").

Ingredient statement lists the ingredients found in the food product, which are listed in descending order by weight, from the most to the least.

Can your favorite comfort food, for example, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, be someone else's ultimate discomfort food? Yes, if that person happens to be one of three million Americans who are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. For that one percent of the population, eating peanut butter can cause reactions ranging from a mild rash to a severe swelling of the throat and around the airways in the lungs, which can possibly lead to anaphylactic shock and, in the most severe cases, death.

To make it easier for food-allergic consumers and their caregivers to identify and avoid foods that contain major food allergens, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) was passed by Congress in 2004, and became effective on January 1. This law requires all food labels to declare in plain English the presence of any of these eight allergens (milk, egg, soy, wheat, etc.).

This can accomplished in one of two ways, by placing the word "Contains" followed by the name of the food source from which the major food allergen is derived after or adjacent to the list of ingredients, in the same type size as the latter (e.g. "Contains milk and wheat"); or by placing next to the name of the affected ingredient, in parentheses, the name of the food source from which the allergen is derived [e.g. "natural flavoring (eggs, soy)].

Some foods are exempt and some foods are grandfathered into the program because of already being on the grocery store shelf. For more information, visit this Web site http://www.cfsan.fda. gov~dms/alrguid.html or your local extension office.

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