FAQs about Definitions

Shelf Life Advice answers many frequently asked questions about food storage and safety, such as food product dating, leftovers, food-borne illness, and more.

What Does the Word “Foodie” Mean? It Depends Who(m) You Ask

Fancy FoodWhat (or who) is a “foodie”? Is it a compliment or an insult to be called a foodie? Is it a real word with its own unique meaning or just a synonym for “gourmet”? These are some of the profound philosophical questions Shelf Life Advice is about to take up, so don your thinking caps and alert your appetite. This site about to consult the experts—dictionaries, food websites, scientists, and the average person (best example: myself) to learn about the origin, denotations, and connotations of this ubiquitous word.

“Fresh,” “Natural,” “Processed”—What Do These Words Mean?

PoultryWords commonly used to praise or damn specific foods—words such as “fresh,” “natural,” and “processed”—mean different things to different people. They can be defined in two different ways by answering these two quite different questions: 


1) What do they mean to the U.S. governmental agencies that oversee our food supply?  


2) What does the average consumer think these words mean?

Defining Some Current Language about Food

people eatingDo you understand everything the news media toss at you?  Keeping your vocabulary current is a challenge since new concepts continuously lead to the creation of new language.  Vocabulary related to food may involve words totally new to you. Often, they're from the language and cuisine of other countries.  But sometimes we hear familiar words used in new ways and common words combined into phrases that are confusing. Context may give us a vague idea of the meaning but not a precise one. Below is some clarification of the following: "health halo effect", "functional food," "food desert," "food insecurity," "traceability" and "sustainable/renewable resources."

What's in Our Food? Maybe Processing Aids, Maybe Not

RaduraAs a result of the mountain of bad publicity directed at products such as "glued" meat and "pink slime," consumers have been getting more concerned than ever about what ingredients may be hiding in their foods.  This may be the best (or worst) time to inform consumers about additional substances that may come in contact with the food they're about to consume. We're talking about processing aids. Because most processing aids are not listed on the product label, the average consumer is unaware of their existence. Learning that some foods you eat may be exposed to chemicals you aren't told about may make you a tad uncomfortable.  Therefore, we've provided some Q/As to tell you what processing aids are, how they differ from additives, and what problems they might present to particular groups of people.

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