What Do All These Different “Organic” Labels Mean?
While the term “organic” may seem cut and dry there are several shady areas of which consumers should be aware. In 2000 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established guidelines to make it easier for consumers to understand organic products on the market. Are you one of those people still not sure exactly what the labels are telling you? Not to worry you are not alone!
aThere are five labels you may see on your supermarket shelf. They include 100% organic, Organic, Made with Organic Ingredients, Free-range/Cage-free, and Natural. Pretty self-explanatory right? Maybe not as much as you would think….
This label on produce means the fruit or vegetable was grown completely WITHOUT synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Meat or dairy products wearing this label ensures that all the USDA stipulations concerning hormones, feed, and time spent outdoors were met.
This type of produce or meat doesn’t meet the standards of products labeled “100% Organic”, however the majority of its ingredients have been approved for organic use by a nationwide certification organization called the National Organics Standards Board
Made With Organic Ingredients
Foods with this label let consumers be assured that the item is made with no less than 70% organic ingredients and rules.
This is a term that can be used for poultry but not for eggs and is very unclear on the rules of time spent outdoors as well as the quality of feed. Poultry can be considered at different levels of organic quality and still be in this category.
This label can only be used for meat and poultry and states it was raised and sold using no artificial coloring, chemical preservatives, or ingredients. There’s no certification process that meat or poultry producers must comply with in order to place the term on their labels.
As the organic market grows you will begin to see more products on your supermarket shelf. Many experts hope that with the increase in products that the UDSA will become stricter on their qualifications and clearer so that the consumer can easily understand what they are buying and consuming.
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