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To encourage Americans to “get the 411” on the content of the foods and beverages they consume, Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy group Citizens for Health has designated April 11, 2013 (4/11), Read Your Labels Day.
On that day, the nonprofit organization urges families to check the labels on products in their kitchen pantries and refrigerators, as well as on grocery store shelves, and look for the Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid -- a list of sweeteners, preservatives and industrial chemical additives. They can also share photos of products on Instagram, using the hashtag #ReadYourLabels.
Although many shoppers already engage in this behavior, a 2011 study from market research firm Mintel found that less than half of consumers surveyed checked the ingredient labels on the foods they bought in supermarkets.
"The majority of us don't check the list of ingredients on food package labels," said Citizens for Health Chair Jim Turner, whose group rolled out the “Read Your Labels” campaign in February. “The big food manufacturers are counting on this. If we don’t read or understand the ingredients in their products, they can put pretty much whatever they want to into our food.”