Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Understanding Food Labeling {Part 1 of 3}

Welcome to a 3 week series on understanding nutritional/product labeling! This series will cover 3 hot topics and terms in the food world. Organic, natural, and GMO/GE (genetically modified/genetically engineered.)

I hope this will help you to use some simple facts to make healthy choices at the grocery store for you and your family!


There is a common misconception between nautral and organic foods. For a long time, I didn't really even know the difference. Natural? Organic?? That can't be bad...right?? Sounds good to me!

What does certified organic or "USDA Organic" mean? 
This means these products are certified 95-100% organic. Certified organic means the farmer or producer has undergone a regular inspection of its farm, facilities, ingredients, and practices by an independent Third Party certifier, accredited by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). The producer has followed strict NOP regulations and maintained detailed records. Synthetic pesticides, animal drugs, sewage sludge, GMOs, irradiation, and chemical fertilizers are prohibited. Farm animals, soil, and crops have been managed organically; food can only be processed with certain methods; only allowed ingredients can be used.  source

How Do I Know if My Food Is Organic?
Look at the label. If you see the USDA organic seal, the product is certified organic and has 95 percent or more organic content. For multi-ingredient products such as bread or soup, if the label claims that it is made with specified organic ingredients, you can be confident that those specific ingredients have been certified organic.

Organic foods are ideally, the best to choose. I find it frustrating that many, if not all organic foods cost more than the processed alternative. This leads to a lot of shoppers just giving up and continue consuming chemicals, dyes, and pesticides that we were not created to eat.

 Keeping your shopping cart around the perimeter of the store is a good way to find most of the organic foods, i.e. meats, fruits and veggies, and dairy. If your local grocery store doesn't offer some organic items, stopping by a health food store probably will. Don't have one of those close by? You can buy organic foods online! 

Like Organic Prarie (a sub label of Organic Valley.) They even offer FREE shipping! 

You can also visit Local Harvest to find a local farmer/supplier of organic products! 

At the very least, I try to buy all organic produce and meat from local farmers that is sold at my local heath food store. The thought of eating cow or chicken that was injected with all kinds of who knows what makes me want to yack. 

Stay tuned for the second part of the series, Natural!! 


Jeff Wise said...

Reading food labels is very important because food companies are allowed to use hidden names for items such as MSG and Aspartame. If it's not 100% MSG then they can call it something else. Most of the time they are so hard to pronounce.

Allison said...

I agree! The ingredients that I want to see are recognizable words!!

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