Chris' Corner: Guide to Organic Food Labelling

Guide to Organic Food Labelling

The following terms tend to be found on supposed "organic" products in marketers attempts to "greenwash" (make an item seem to appear "better for the environment", or "more natural" than it truly is... really nothing more than twenty-first century "double-speak".

BIRD FRIENDLY or SHADE GROWN
Refers to the way that coffee is grown.  By growing the coffee under trees that are used by migratory birds rather than growing the coffee in full sun, less pesticide is used as the birds will naturally eat insects.  This coffee can be more expensive, but is much better for the environment.

CAGE FREE vs FREE RANGE
Refers to the manner which poultry is grown.  This labeling can also be found on eggs.  Cage-free means that the hens were not caged, but does not necessarily mean that they were not in larger indoor pens.  Free range indicates that the poultry was allowed to roam outdoors freely.

SUSTAINABLE vs ORGANIC
Sustainable agricultural methods mean that the practices used in raising the crop did not harm the environment and did not use up non-renewable resources (or managed to replace the resources consumed).  Sustainable does not necessarily mean Organic.  Organic refers to foods grown using environmentally sensitive methods without the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizer, pesticides, hormones etc)

GRASS FED vs OPEN PASTURE
Open Pasture indicates that livestock was allowed to graze outdoors  completely.  Grass fed livestock could have been fed grass indoors.

MADE FROM ORGANIC MATERIALS vs ORGANIC vs 100% ORGANIC
Made from Organic materials can be as little as 70% organic, Organic must be 95% Organic, 100% Organic must be completely organic.

NATURAL FOODS
Foods, not necessarily organic, but retaining most of the whole original food and prepared using minimal processing.

Chris Smith CSSBB
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Comment balloon 0 commentsChris Smith • April 07 2011 09:09AM

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