The Truth Behind Food Labels




Did you know there are about 100 different ‘eco-friendly’ food labels? With an increasing push to market foods as healthy or eco-friendly, it’s difficult to keep track of labels that are useful and ones that are just plain greenwashing. To help navigate food options, Audubon Magazine recently peeled back the label on food certifications and created a quick and handy guide for consumer reference:


The Best
“Third-party certification is the best means for determining whether a label’s claim really makes the grade. These designations are authentic, with a few caveats.”

  • USDA Organic
  • Fair Trade
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Food Alliance
  • Demeter Biodynamic
  • Salmon-Safe
  • Bird Friendly
  • Certified Humane Raised and Handled
  • FishWise
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Healthy Grown Potatoes

“Many of the environmental claims are riddled with loopholes. Compounding the confusion is that numerous foods are regulated by different or multiple government agencies. The following labels are weaker.”

  • Raised Without Antibiotics
  • Natural
  • Free Range
  • Grass Fed
  • Nutri Clean Residue Free Certification
  • Marine Stewardship Council

Vague & Unverified
“Some common labels are so vague as to be utter nonsense. The terms below have no standards or definitions, or any method of verification. Thus the producer can use them in any way it sees fit, with no repercussions”

  • Cruelty free
  • Cage free
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Nature’s friend
  • No chemicals
  • Vegetarian fed







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