What does "selected corn" mean on an ingredient list?
December 11, 2014 11:43 AM   Subscribe

It's listed as the first ingredient in Doritos here in Canada. Why wouldn't they just say "corn"? Is it some sort of quality grade?
posted by stokast to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
Selected (in the biological sense) as opposed to GMO would be my guess.
posted by tempestuoso at 11:49 AM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I always assumed it was the company saying that their corn was extra special high quality corn. You also see it on potato chip bags--if you go to the Lays site it says that thir chips are made from "specially selected potatoes."
posted by quaking fajita at 11:51 AM on December 11, 2014

Yes, I think fajita is correct: This says that Doritos are made from "from selected corn kernels," suggesting that they don't take just any old kernels, but select the good ones.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:55 AM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think it's legally meaningless, but I am not a food labeling lawyer. This page for Processed Products Regulations (C.R.C., c. 291) indicates that there are only a few legally meaningful modifiers for processed food ingredients:


I suspect "selected" simply means they screen the incoming corn to ensure there isn't a dead cow in there or something.

Looking at Canadian corn grading standards and the rest of the regulatory documents about food ingredient disclosure in Canada there's no mention I can find of "selected".
posted by GuyZero at 12:05 PM on December 11, 2014 [6 favorites]

Specifically, Canadian Corn Grading Standards. Canadian corn grades are just plain old numbers 1-5. "No. 1 CW" is Number 1 Canadian Western corn - it contains less than 0.02% excrata for example.
posted by GuyZero at 12:08 PM on December 11, 2014

Sure seems like they found a way to insert puffery (AKA legally justifiable BS) into the FDA mandated ingredient label.
posted by Flexagon at 12:14 PM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

In Canada it would be Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, not the FDA.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Food Labelling and Advertising information.

Specifically, Understanding A Food Label. Again, no mention of "selected."
posted by GuyZero at 12:22 PM on December 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Some labels specify "whole corn" for the first ingredient. Perhaps that's what's meant by "selected"?
posted by kagredon at 3:17 PM on December 11, 2014

"Selected corn" is also on the ingredient list for masa harina in the US. I've never known it to mean anything specific, other than "we're slipping in this buzzword here because people have started reading labels, and we want to convince them our product is something special."
posted by WasabiFlux at 3:37 PM on December 11, 2014

In the case of masa harina, I am willing to bet that it means nixtamalized corn (treated with lime to remove the outer skin or pericarp). So not a corn grade but a type of processed corn.
posted by jadepearl at 4:03 AM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I suspected it was just puffery myself, but the masa harina angle seems interesting. Doritos are essentially refried corn tortillas, which would have been made using nixtamalized corn...

It's weird that this is so hard to figure out. I'm gonna send an email to Frito-Lay.
posted by stokast at 5:37 AM on December 12, 2014

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