Friday, February 21, 2014

Green Eating

Green Eating
By []Douglas Michaels Jr. 

We have come to a point where more and more people are trying to make better decisions in their everyday lives regarding going green. However, it often is not easy to figure out what should be considered the good, the bad, and the ugly. Food choices play an important part in lowering your carbon footprint. However, like other businesses in the green world, it is hard to know what is really reducing your environmental impact and what is just being sold to you as green and really isn't. Below are a few labels you may see when shopping:

Animal Care Certified, United Egg Producers Certified, and Swine Welfare Assurance Program

These are industry-friendly labels that allow many cruel and inhumane factory farming practices. In 2004, the Better Business Bureau filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stating that the "Animal Care Certified" seal is misleading advertising and recommended that use of the seals be discontinued. For the Swine Welfare Assurance Program, bedding and rooting materials are not required. Tail docking, teeth clipping, ear notching and castration without anesthesia are allowed and access to the outdoors is not required. As for the United Egg Producers Certification, bebeaking is allowed, confinement to small cages allowed, and access to the outdoors not required

certified Humane

This label is endorsed by the ASPCA and many other humane organizations.

Demeter Biodynamic

This standard is one of the strictest in the world. It requires farmers to avoid all pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. Farmers are to use compost, cover crops, and set aside 10% of their property to preserve biodiversity. 


Applied to tuna, this label ensures that dolphins are not dying in tuna nets.

Fair Trade Certified

This certification focuses on measures to prevent unsafe use of pesticides and other chemicals. The Fair Trade Certified� label guarantees consumers that strict economic, social and environmental criteria were met in the production and trade of an agricultural product. Fair Trade Certification is currently available in the U.S. for coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa and chocolate, fresh fruit, flowers, sugar, rice, and vanilla. 

Food Alliance Certified

This is a third party certification. This label ensures fair working conditions, human treatment of animals, and sustainable farming practices. However, you do need to know that they do allow some use of pesticides and antibiotics.

Free Range

This is a label that sounds a lot nicer than it is. Most people think free range means that the animals have access to the outdoors. However, the definition is so loose that it is pretty much meaningless. Most free range animals are still raised in crowded warehouse conditions. There are no set standards for this label, so anybody can slap it on their products.

Grass Fed

This label is actually a success story for the sustainable food movement. This label can only be attached to meat and dairy raised exclusively on pasture and forage.


This label means that the food contains no artificial ingredients or coloring. It has been minimally processed. In terms of sustainability, this label is useless.

Predator Friendly

This certification recognizes the important role predators such as wolves, cougars, hawks, and bears play in maintaining healthy ecosystems. It provides certification for farmers who use predator management techniques that rely on smart herd management, livestock guardian animals, and other peaceful methods of co-existence.

Protected Harvest

This is for farmers who use Integrated Pest Management programs. It does allow for some pesticide use. However, it encourages holistic sustainable approach to pest management like using beneficial insects.

USDA Organic

Now, the organic food label is regulated by the USDA. Organic producers must meet tough standards before they are certified. However, there are many loopholes in organic standards that allow industrial agriculture to get away with things that a small farmer would not. 

These are not all the labels that are out there either! It is amazing how something one would think is so simple really isn't. As you can see, all labels are not created equal. This short list of labels you may find on your food hopefully will allow you to make better green choices when buying your food.

Douglas Michaels Jr. writes educational articles for Green Earth News, the authority on everything Bamboo. For more information on []Bamboo Flavors. Check out Green Earth Bamboo for bamboo towels, []organic bedding, duvet covers, clothing and baby products, all made from the world's most sustainable and renewable resource on the planet.

Article Source: [] Green Eating

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