8 Food Words That Sneakily Mean Nothing

Illustration by Louisa Cannell
Once upon a time, food didn't have labels. You either hunted, gathered, farmed it yourself, bartered or bought it from someone you trusted. These days, however, we often buy food prepackaged, miles (if not continents) away from its source. So we rely on labels and packaging to fill us in on what is going on.
A lot of that language is regulated — but not all of it. While certifications and regulations control some of what has to be (or can be) said about certain food, other words have fuzzier meanings that rely more on a collective idea of what the idea represents. Ahead, eight words that you may want to look at twice next time you see them at the grocery store.

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