We’ll make sure you know what is behind all the tricky terminology! Photo from Harvey Prince.
Read more and let’s go over what some common terms really entail.
100 PERCENT ORGANIC means that every single ingredient in the product is organically grown: No pesticides, antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, bio-engineered, synthetic growth hormones, GMOs or irradiated ingredients.
Certified GMO-FREE is self-explanatory. And here’s why we’re concerned with the alternatives: Genetically engineered foods (also known as genetically modified organisms or GMO foods; it’s basically two ways of saying the same thing) begin as plants that have had their DNA changed in a laboratory—most of these changes involve making the plants better able to tolerate high doses of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. The two most common genetic modifications are herbicide tolerance to protect the plants when the farmer sprays chemicals to kill weeds, and a soil bacteria gene that gives plants the ability to produce their own insecticides. Today, most of the foods on our supermarket shelves today have been genetically engineered: corn (85 percent), soy (91 percent), sugar beets (95 percent) and cotton (88 percent). But you wouldn’t know it from the label: In the United States (unlike 49 other countries) genetically engineered ingredients are not required to be disclosed on food labels—unless the product has been certified as “GMO-free,” or USDA Certified Organic, which is naturally free of GMOs.
But we digress…
CERTIFIED ORGANIC products contain at least 95 percent organically grown ingredients. ECO CERT also contain at least 95 percent, as certified by an independent European agency, not the USDA.
If animal welfare is important to you, look for the CRUELTY FREE label, which means the product was made without animal testing. VEGAN products are not animal tested and contain no animal ingredients such as honey or milk, but they aren’t necessarily environmentally sustainable.
Sadly, NATURAL is totally unregulated: It can mean that a product contains plant-derived ingredients and is cruelty- and preservative-free, but because natural is simply a descriptive, it could also mean the manufacturer just threw it on the label to make a sale.
At LOVE GOODLY, we prefer vegan and organic products. We also believe in “voting with your dollars,” which basically means that you show your support for more sustainable production by buying it.