Truth Behind Food Labels : Organic, Natural And More Explained

Truth Behind Food Labels : Organic, Natural And More Explained

You walk into the grocery with full intentions to fill your cart with healthy foods. however this can be not a straightforward quest once you’re Janus-faced with making an attempt to decipher all the labels: “natural” versus “all-natural,” “organic” versus “raised while not antibiotics,” “free-range” versus “cage-free.” to assist you with success navigate the food aisles, here’s what the foremost common labels very mean.

Certified labels

These labels area unit supported by farmers and processors and are certified and tested by a 3rd party regulatory authority.


Agricultural merchandise labelled as “organic” area unit regulated by the USDA’s National Organic Program. Organic foods can not be either created or processed with artificial growth hormones, antibiotics, biotechnology, artificial ingredients or irradiation. merchandise whose label says “made with organic ingredients” contain a minimum of seventy p.c organic ingredients however won't have the Department of Agriculture organic seal.

Fair trade

Products like low, tea, cocoa, rice and herbs and spices usually have a label that says “fair trade certified.” truthful trade merchandise should be created in such some way that supports development socially, economically and environmentally, as enforced by the truthfultrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) or by Fair Trade USA within the U.S. individuals concerned in manufacturing truthful trade merchandise should conjointly receive truthful wages, safe operating conditions and also the right to hitch trade unions.


There area unit certification standards for ruminant animals or animals that chew cud and have split hooves such as domestic bovine, bison, deer, lamb and goats. The Department of Agriculture needs that ruminant animals be fed solely grass and forage throughout the season. The yank Grassfed Association is one organization that certifies that ruminant animals area unit fed solely on pasture and area unit raised while not antibiotics, artificial hormones or confinement.

Non-Certified labels

The following labels area unit solely supported by farmers and processors, an agency make certain their merchandise meet every commonplace, however they typically don't seem to be certified or tested by a 3rd party regulatory authority.

Raised while not antibiotics

On several industrial farms, animals area unit raised in overcrowded and/or insanitary living conditions. to stay those animals in physiological condition, they're usually given antibiotics. Meat or dairy farm with this label means that the animals were raised while not the utilization of antibiotics.

GE-free (genetically-engineered)/ Non-GMO (genetically-modified organism)

Some firms value more highly to label their food merchandise “GE-free” or “non-GMO” so as to tell customers, however these labels don't seem to be federally regulated. Individual firms or organizations regulate food merchandise labelled “GE-free” or “non-GMO,” however every company or organization chooses what proportion or their product will contain genetically-engineered ingredients or genetically-modified organisms whether it’s ten p.c or zero p.c.

Hormone free

These labels area unit used if a farmer has not injected his or her animals with any artificial growth hormones or steroids. Animal merchandise while not this label could are raised with hormones like rBGH, a genetically-engineered somatotrophic hormone.

Ambiguous labels

“Ambiguous labels” isn't truly Associate in Nursing trade term, however the labels below area unit neither certified by a 3rd party regulatory authority nor do they adhere to a collection of specific standards.

All natural

Contrary to standard belief, there's truly no universal definition for “all natural” labeling or packaging. therefore whereas some merchandise labelled as “natural” is also tokenishly processed and contain minimal chemicals, it's terribly troublesome to grasp whether or not this can be the case.

Free range

Poultry labelled as “free range” don’t board cages, however they may pay loads of your time inside. The definition solely needs the chickens to pay some quantity of your time outdoors, however doesn’t specify whether or not they have to be compelled to be outside on a day to day or monthly basis or for the way long. There area unit presently no commonplace definitions for unconfined beef, pork or unconfined chicken eggs.

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