Food Labels: Lies On the Supermarket Shelves

Is your peanut butter, peanut butter?

Look at the jar of peanut butter on your shelf, does the label read peanut butter or peanut butter spread?


According to the FDA:

Sec. 164.150 Peanut butter.
(a) peanut butter is the food prepared by grinding one of the shelled and roasted peanut ingredients provided for by paragraph (b) of this section, to which may be added safe and suitable seasoning and stabilizing ingredients provided for by paragraph (c) of this section, but such seasoning and stabilizing ingredients do not in the aggregate exceed 10 percent of the weight of the finished food. To the ground peanuts, cut or chopped, shelled, and roasted peanuts may be added.

i.e. Peanut butter must be at least 90% peanuts. In addition,  if any of the ingredients listed in paragraph C (eg. palm oil, non-hydrogenated vegetable oils, splenda etc) are added to the final product, it can not be considered as peanut butter.

Seasoning and stabilizing ingredients that perform a useful function are regarded as suitable, except that artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners, chemical preservatives, and color additives are not suitable ingredients in peanut butter . Oil products used as optional stabilizing ingredients shall be hydrogenated vegetable oils. For the purposes of this section, hydrogenated vegetable oil shall be considered to include partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Further reading:

Why Isn’t Jif’s Natural Peanut Butter Spread Labeled Just ‘Peanut Butter?’

Ice cream and dairy desserts


According to the FDA:

Ice cream contains not less than 1.6 pounds of total solids to the gallon, and weighs not less than 4.5 pounds to the gallon. Ice cream contains not less than 10 percent milkfat, nor less than 10 percent nonfat milk solids, except that when it contains milkfat at 1 percent increments above the 10 percent minimum

This means that for a product to be considered ice cream:

  1. It must contain at least 10% milkfat and 10% nonfat milk solids
  2. One gallon of the finished product must have be at minimum 4.5lbs.

The first condition is to regulate the taste and mouth feel of ice cream. The milkfat content is what dictates the creamy decadent texture of the ice cream. The second condition is to regulate the amount of overrun in ice cream to prevent shady manufacturing practices and ensuring that you do not get a product that is mainly air instead of cream.

Overrun refers to the amount of aeration the ice cream undergoes during its manufacture that keeps the mixture from becoming an inedible frozen mass. Overrun is governed by federal standards in that the finished product must not weigh less than 4.5 pounds per gallon.

Cockedeye did a comparison between Dreyer’s slow-churned and a regular pint that provides a very good example of this. The slow-churned version contained at least 8% more air than the regular one.

1.5 quart container of neopolitan Rich & Creamy ice cream: 845 grams.
1.5 quart container of neopolitan Slow Churned ice cream: 720 grams.

The slow churned, despite being made with heavier materials, weighed only 85% as much as regular ice cream. What could make up this difference in weight?

Please comment if you have any suggestions for future falsehoods posts!



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