With the arrival of Earth Day on April 22nd. we wanted to share some articles that relate to where Green Living meets Wellness. The blog below is from Spirituality & Health Magazine with some added info:
by Amanda-Rodasi Campbell
Claims of the organic label are being watered down. We don’t just want to feel good about buying organic, we want organic products. We know what we expect from “organic,” but what it means on a product label isn’t so clear. There is a difference between the labels Organic and 100% Organic. 100% Organic is the most stringent and authentic label while the Organic label carries many loopholes. So what do those labels mean?
Any product can be labeled with terms like “natural” or “whole” to create the idea impression of healthfulness, whether they are or not. The word “organic” however is federally regulated. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the gatekeeper for organic labeling. To the USDA, “organic” means that the product is or contains ingredients that are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are not given antibiotics or growth hormones. Within these constraints, the USDA has identified different categories for organic labeling:
100% Organic: These are the only true organic products, made with 100% organic ingredients.
Organic: These products can include up to five percent of ingredients that are not organic. Given the high concentration of some food additives, these products can have ingredients many choosing “organic” do not expect.
Made with Organic Ingredients: These products can have up to 30% of their content not from organic sources. Bread can be labeled “Made with Organic Ingredients” if the only thing organic in the loaf is the flour. It can carry this label only on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package. “Made with Organic Ingredients” is an almost meaningless designation, and could well lead people to believe they are eating something much different than the actual product.
The USDA standards fluctuate to accommodate larger companies trying to get in the game, and as with any Federal program, with the right amount of lobbying money, the definitions can be changed. Consumers often think that if a product is labeled “organic” it means that it is the healthiest one possible. However, the organic label can still be used for milk that is coming from cows that are intensively confined, which by some “organic” standards, is unethical. If you care about the source of the products you buy and eat, the labeling of Organic is not enough. It’s best to find out the ethical standards followed by the company producing your food. One of the strongest claims made by those promoting “local” products is that it’s easiest to know what goes into the food from the supplier you can visit yourself. When you can walk through a farm and see how things are grown, or how animals are treated you can be truly certain of what you are buying. You can’t get that sort of confidence from a label.