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Reading Food Labels


Food labels are useful in helping you make informed choices when buying food products.

Reading food labels can provide you with information on healthier food products as well as help you decipher the nutrient claims that may be present on food packagings.


What's on a food label?

There are 7 components of a food label.

Date Marking

This would be the "Use By", "Sell By" and "Best Before" date.

Product Name

This tells you what the food is.

Net Weight

This is the actual weight of the food excluding the packaging.

Ingredient List

This shows, in descending order by weight, all the ingredients that make up the product.

Nutrition Information

This panel shows the nutrients found in 1 serving or in 100g / 100ml of the food.

Usage Instructions

These are instructions on storage or usage of the food

Manufacturer's Details

This includes the name and address of the manufacturer, importer or distributor.

The ingredient list

Besides being aware that ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Some ingredients (such as fats & oils, salt and sugar) may be named differently in different ingredient lists.

The Nutrition Information Panel (NIP)

The NIP of a product provides information on the nutritional value of the product. This includes the energy, protein, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrate, dietary fibre and sodium content. In addition, other nutrient values may be included if any specific claims have been made.

It also advices what is the serving size and servings per package.

The Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS)

Healthier food choices can be easily identified by looking out for the healthier choice symbol.

The Health Promotion Board has recently introduced 6 new HCS to better help you identify products to individualized needs.

Nutrient claims

Examples of claims include "high in fibre", "light", "reduced fat" or "cholesterol free". All products with nutrient claims are required to put up a NIP for consumers to refer to. As such, always refer to the NIP as the claims do not specify the actual amount of nutrients present.

For example: "No added sugar" may not necessarily mean no sugar.

Remember, be an informed shopper. Read the labels and follow the Healthy Diet Pyramid to help you achieve a balanced diet!

Also see,

  • Food labels - full cream milk
  • Food labels - oatmeal
  • Healthy Diet Pyramid
- Last updated 16 Jul 2010,6:40 pm

The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

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