If you’re trying to help the environment, the animals, or better your health, take a look at the labels on food packages.
Unless there’s third-party certification for a claim, the labels are mostly meaningless.
Audubon Magazine has the detailed explanation of all the labels on their website. As noted, some require certification and inspections of farms, or food processing, by a third-party organization; others require no back-up to the claims whatsoever.
Here’s a cheat-sheet to the claims:
These labels require independent verification, so are the most valid:
- USDA Organic
- Fair Trade
- Rainforest Alliance
- Food Alliance
- Demeter Biodynamic
- Bird Friendly
- Certified Humane Raised and Handled
- Non-GMO Project Verified
- Healthy Grown Potatoes
Look for these on produce, fish and meats and packaged foods.
These should be taken with a grain of salt — they may mean something, but they don’t have to:
- Raised Without Antibiotics
- Free Range
- Grass Fed
- Nutri Clean Residue Free Certification
- Marine Stewardship Council
These are found on meats, poultry, fish and prepared food packages.
These can be used by anybody at any time and are basically meaningless:
- Environmentally friendly
- Nature’s friend
- No chemicals
- Vegetarian fed
Look for these on eggs, poultry and meats – and packages of prepared foods.