When you go to the grocery store, sometimes the different labels are rather confusing. Okay, LOTS of times labels are confusing.
For instance, labels saying “organic” don’t all mean the same thing. Organic produce is supposed to be grown without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Organic meat and dairy are supposed to come from livestock that receives no antibiotics or added hormones, and have organic feed to eat. Also, organic products are never genetically engineered or irradiated.
This is good because farming organically promotes healthy soil and a healthy ecological system by keeping chemicals out of our air, earth and water.
But there are shades of organic at the grocery store. Here’s a few of the terms you’re likely to see on labels and what they mean:
- 100% Organic: Products that contain 100% organically produced ingredients.
- USDA Certified Organic: Products with this label only have to have 95% or more organic ingredients. The USDA National Organic Program approved a small amount of conventional ingredients because there is limited availability on comparable organic products.
- Made With Organic Ingredients: Yes, but how much? 70-95% must be organic ingredients. So while the majority of the product is made with organic ingredients, there’s a whole lot that isn’t.
More Going Green Labels
There are more labels that can help you choose the right products.
- All-Natural: These products are minimally processed and contain no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners. Next best thing to organic.
- Earth-Friendly: Products that are produced in such a way as to minimize any negative impact on the environment. Some good examples would include biodegradable, chemical-free, or made of recycled post-consumer waste types of products.
- Vegetarian: Foods with this label are made from plant sources such as fruits, grains, legumes and nuts. However, they can also contain egg and dairy products.
- Vegan: These products must have absolutely NO animal ingredients or by-products. That means no eggs, no dairy products, and not even honey are allowed.
These labels will help you choose foods and othe products that fit your lifestyle, and to know exactly what sort of products you are buying.
Look at the label, and Go Green!