We understand how confusing a myriad of food labels can be. We hope to clarify a few distinctions so that you can make the best choices for your food purchases.
The USDA has clear guidelines governing the organic label. Basically, the organic label Certified organic means:
Fresh consumables (like produce) are most susceptible to absorbing chemicals; make sure your fresh food is organic if you want to avoid chemical residues. For more detailed information on the USDA organic standards, visit the USDA website at www.ams.usda.gov/nop
- Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.
- Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.
- Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.
The term natural is not to be confused with the term organic. Natural as a label is a truthful claim not governed by the USDA. Other truthful claims include free-range, 100% grass-fed and no added hormones. Truthful claims are allowed on food products. Valley Natural Foods has a natural label on meat products to indicate that the meat is free of added hormones, free of antibiotics and free-range.
This distinctive certification seal identifies food grown by local farmers and ranchers that practice environmentally friendly and socially responsible agricultural practices. Food Alliance certified farms and ranches:
For more information on the Food Alliance and its family of farmers and ranchers visit their website at www.foodalliance.org.
- Reduce or eliminate pesticide use.
- Conserve soil and water resources
- Protect and enhance wildlife habitat
- Provide safe and fair working conditions
- Provide healthy and humane care for stock
Fair Trade means an equitable and fair partnership between consumers in North America and producers in countries around the world. The Fair Trade movement began as a way to ensure that coffee farmers (who are small holders) get a fair price for their harvests in order to achieve a decent living wage. Fair Trade guarantees: a living wage; much needed credit at fair prices; and long term relationships. These fair payments are invested in health care, education, environmental stewardship, and economic independence. While coffee was the first product to become Fair Trade Certified in the United States, other products have followed suit including chocolate and bananas. Look for the Fair Trade label or ask about the fair trade practices of a particular company.