Imitation is in the eye of the beholder

Delicious Food Product

According to the FDA web site, a food must be labeled as imitation if it “resembles a traditional food and is a substitute for the traditional food [and] if the new food contains less protein or a lesser amount of any essential vitamin or mineral.” Which means if some food product resembles the “real” version and has the same protein, vitamins, and minerals, it can be labeled as the real thing.

Well, that certainly explains why Smuckers can call this “jam”: Strawberries, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid. (Smuckers Strawberry Jam)

And why Yoplait can call this “yogurt”: Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Reduced Fat Milk, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Fructose, Whey Protein Concentrate, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate added to maintain freshness, Red 40, Blue 1, Natural and Artificial Flavor. (Yoplait Trix Wildberry Blue Yogurt)

And why Pepperidge Farm can call this “bread”: Unbromated Stone Ground 100% Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Nonfat Milk*, Unsulphured Molasses, Wheat Gluten, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Salt, Vegetable Mono And Diglycerides, Butter*, Calcium Propionate To Retard Spoilage, Honey, Unbromated Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Malted Barley (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid) And Soy Lecithin. *Adds A Trivial Amount Of Saturated Fat And Cholesterol. (Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Bread, 100% Whole Wheat)

And why Whole Foods can call this “butter”: Organic butter (sweet cream), organic expeller pressed vegetable oil blend (canola, soy, palm fruit, sunflower and/or flax oil), filtered water, salt, organic soy lecithin (emulsifier), organic flavor (derived from corn). (365 Spreadable Butter)

The bottom line: You might be getting more stuff in your food than you think. Read the ingredients label and make an informed decision.