Emory Report

February 2, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 19


The DUC unveils new
food labeling program

In 1994 the Federal Food Labeling Act went into effect. Food labeling helps consumers choose a healthy diet and encourages manufacturers to improve the nutritional content of their foods.

While this information is helpful when purchasing food products, it leaves consumers uninformed when eating out. Only restaurants that make a health claim on their menus are required to give nutritional information. Does that mean intentions of healthy eating must go down the drain when dining out? Not necessarily.

Starting Jan. 14, the Dobbs Center food court initiated the "Keeping Your Health in Check" food labeling program, a joint project of the Seretean Center for Health Promotion and Campus Dining Services. The program labels are placed on low-fat, low-sodium, vegan, vegetarian and kosher foods.

A pilot program was begun in December 1996 with a nutrition brochure for the Rollins School snack bar, which identified the calories, fat and percent of calories from fat in the foods sold there. Recently, brochures also were created for the Goizueta School, the School of Law and the Seretean Center snack bars.

What do the labels mean?
Low fat: No more than 30 percent of calories from fat per serving. The easiest way to calculate the percentage of fat in a product is to remember low-fat foods should have up to 3 grams of fat for every 100 calories. For example, a sandwich of 250 calories should have no more than 7 grams of fat to be considered low fat.

Low sodium: Up to 140 mg of sodium per serving. Nutrition experts recommend consuming no more than 3,000 mg of sodium per day. Canned foods have notoriously high sodium content. For example, a bowl of canned soup might have 1,000 mg of sodium. To reduce salt content, eat fresh foods whenever possible.

Vegan: According to the web site "Veggies Unite" <http://www.vegweb.com>, vegan eaters exclude meat, fish, poultry, eggs, animal milks, honey and their derivatives in their diets.

Vegetarian: The most common form of vegetarianism, ovo-lacto, is similar to a vegan diet but includes eggs and milk products, which provide complete protein.

Kosher: Jewish dietary laws preclude meat and dairy products being cooked or eaten together. The pareve label means foods are made of neither meat nor dairy products and therefore may be eaten with both. Packaged kosher foods are stored in a freezer located by the deli counter in the DUC. During Passover, prepared kosher foods will be labeled.

Helen Jenkins, food services liaison, is very excited about the venture. "I hope the program in the DUC is a success, and I wish all food facilities on the Emory Campus will adopt the program," she said. Susan Butler, director of programming for the Seretean Center, added, "Today many people are health conscious and concerned about what they eat. Being informed about the contents of the food being served on campus will help them make healthier food choices."

Leslie Teach is a graduate assistant in the School of Public Health. "Wellness" is coordinated by the Seretean Center for Health Promotion. If you have a topic you'd like to read or write about, call 404-727-2853 or send an e-mail message to <lteach@sph.emory.edu>.

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