They sure are! Especially when it comes to meat, fish and dairy products. Organic, certified-organic, GMO-Free, cage-free, free-range, fair trade and even more labels can be confusing and misleading to consumers.
After not knowing what many of these meant ourselves, SafBaby did some research to find out. What we learned was definitely interesting, so we wanted to share it with you.
It’s not surprising to see the matter in which some labels are used, simply to attract uninformed consumers. For example, “cage-free” doesn’t mean what you imagine in your head it should mean.
Here is a list of the most used food labels:
USDA ORGANIC CERTIFIED
Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.
Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.
Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.
Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too. Certified Organic does not mean ‘cruelty-free’!
For more information, visit USDA.gov
The Logo is a registered trademark, for products that do not contain animal products and that have not been tested on animals. The Logo is easily visible to consumers interested in vegan products and helps vegans to shop without constantly consulting ingredient lists; it helps companies recognize a growing vegan market; and it helps bring the word “vegan”–and the lifestyle it represents–into the mainstream.
For more info, visit Vegan.org
DOLPHIN SAFE CERTIFIED
Dolphin-safe means no tuna were caught on the trip in which such tuna were harvested using a purse seine net intentionally deployed on or to encircle dolphins, and that no dolphins were killed or seriously injured in the sets in which the tuna were caught.
Federal Regulations allow U.S. processors and importers to purchase and sell non dolphin-safe tuna.
For more info, visit Earth Island Institute
ANIMAL WELFARE APPROVED
Designed to certify that animals raised for dairy, lamb, poultry and beef products are treated in a humane manner. Traceability ensures that that products come from the farms that were inspected.
Access to clean and sufficient food and water; and a safe and healthful living environment is also required from birth through slaughter. Producers also must comply with environmental standards.
Under the program, growth hormones are prohibited and animals are raised on a diet without antibiotics. Antibiotics can be used in the treatment of sick animals.
The birds are uncaged inside barns or warehouses, but may be kept indoors at all times. They must be able to perform natural behaviors such as nesting, perching, and dust bathing. There are requirements for stocking density and number of perches and nesting boxes. Forced molting through starvation is prohibited, but beak cutting is allowed. Compliance is verified through third-party auditing.
For more info, visit: Certifiedhumane.com
UEP certified farmers commit to strict guidelines and are audited by the USDA and Validus for compliance on 100 percent of their farms before they are allowed to place the United Egg Producers Certified seal of approval on their egg packaging.
The UEP Certified program for cage production provides assurance that hens receive adequate space, nutritious food, clean water, proper lighting, and fresh air daily as well as improves the flock’s livability and egg production rates.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have approved the UEP Certified logo.
For more information go to: Uepcertified.com
HSUS.org (Humane Society of the United States) has to say about UEP Certification:
CAGE-FREE (NO CERTIFICATION)
FREE-RANGE (NO CERTIFICATION)
FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED
SALMON SAFE CERTIFIED
NON-GMO (NO CERTIFICATION)
Genetically modified (GM) foods, are food products that have had their DNA directly altered through genetic engineering.
Companies may voluntarily label non-genetically modified food products as “non-GMO” or “MADE WITHOUT GENETICALLY MODIFIED INGREDIENTS”.
Meats, dairy products, farmed fish, and eggs are usually from animals fed GM feed. To avoid GMO, buy CERTIFIED ORGANIC.
What You Can Do:
- Ask vendors at a local farmers market if their fruits and veggies are CERTIFIED ORGANIC and ask about how their animals are raised.
- Ask if you could visit the farm to see the animals. If they won’t let you, they probably don’t want you to see the conditions.
- Buy certified organic food produced in the United States.
- Ask your supermarket or the food company named on your meat label or egg carton how it cares for its animals.
- Inform yourself by visiting Animal Rights Organizations websites and become active.