Learn to read certified food labels
Reading various food labels in the supermarket in the middle of a busy day can be a strenuous, overwhelming activity.
To make your visit to the supermarket a little bit easier, here is a list of some of the widely used certified food labels in North America:
CERTIFIED NATURALLY GROWN
This label is used when food is grown following the same standards as an organic farm but not certified by the authorities for growing organic food. This is an alternative adopted by the farmers with the rising concern regarding the cost-effectiveness of USDA’s certificate.
But don’t get confused with the certified label and any product using the word natural on it. The second one can be a marketing claim whereas the first one is certified by an authority.
Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) of the USA has a list of regulations in practicing fair trade — fair wage, occupational safety, ban of child labor — to ensure that products are produced following it.
The underlying principle is to promote development: social, economic, and environmental.
ANIMAL WELFARE APPROVED
Animal Welfare Institute, a non-profit organization in the USA for animal welfare, issues this certificate to farms that provide a suitable environment for the livestock to grow naturally. This initiative is to address the animal cruelty involved in raising animals such as chickens and pigs.
AMERICAN HUMANE CERTIFIED
American Humane Association in 2000 developed the American Humane Certified program for the welfare of livestock. This was introduced to ensure that animals have access to basic amenities such as clean water and healthy food: a call to act humanely.
NON-GMO PROJECT VERIFIED
The Non-GMO Project, a non-profit organization, introduced this program to authenticate GMO-free products.
The American Grassfed Association issues this certificate based on the requirement placed by USDA — only grass and forage fed to the ruminant animals. Ruminants are mammals with an interesting digestive system. They chew their cud, meaning they chew their partly digested food returned from the first stomach to the mouth. So, food is chewed for the second time. Beef, bison, dairy, lamb, and goat should be fed only on pasture to get this certificate.
TIPS FOR SHOPPING
You may come across the various certificate labels on one of your sprees for healthy shopping. Look out for the labels. It is always good to google in case of doubts. Then buy the one that you think is good for your health.
Hope you can now choose your food a little more wisely.
Now let’s shop!
Author: Somrita Ganchoudhuri
Image source: unsplash.com