Reported by foodem.com, the online wholesale food marketplace-
With the onslaught of new food buzzwords, food labels remain confusing to most consumers. There’s ‘organic’, ‘cage-free’, ‘kosher’, and ‘natural’ just to name a few. No wonder consumers just throw their hands up in frustration; grocery shopping has become a taxing chore nowadays.
I’m sure many cringe at the thought of grocery shopping, but don’t worry, Foodem has got you covered. Check out the list of common food label buzzwords and their definitions below. Hopefully they will help ease the pain when trying to fill your cart with your favorite food selections.
- Organic: Per the USDA, ‘organic’ means the agricultural product has met all the requirements and has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. One thing to note, the USDA labels any product “organic” if 95% or more of the ingredients are organically produced (excluding water and salt).
- Natural: The USDA defines ‘natural’ as a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. While the terms ‘minimally processed’ are left to one’s interpretation, the USDA says, “Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product.” It’s still pretty cryptic if you ask me.
- Halal: This term means “lawful” or “permitted” in Arabic. ‘Halal’ meats are products prepared by federally inspected meat packing plants identified with labels bearing references to “Halal” or “Zabiah Halal,” which must be handled according to Islamic law and under Islamic authority.
- Grass-fed: The ‘grass-fed’ diet shall be derived solely from forage consisting of grass (annual and perennial), forbs (e.g., legumes, Brassica), browse, or cereal grain crops in the vegetative (pre-grain) state. Animals cannot be fed grain or grain byproducts and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. Hay, haylage, baleage, silage, crop residue without grain, and other roughage sources may also be included as acceptable feed sources.
- Free-Range/Cage-Free: ‘Free-range’ indicates that the flock has been allowed access to the outside. Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that this practice is in place. Additionally, free-range chickens are uncaged inside barns or warehouses and have some degree of outdoor access, but there are no requirements for the amount, duration or quality of outdoor access. ‘Cage-free’ on the other hand, refers to uncaged chickens inside barns or warehouses that generally do not have access to the outdoors.
- Kosher: The term ‘Kosher’ may be used only on the labels of meat and poultry products prepared under rabbinical supervision.
- Fair Trade Certified: The Fair Trade certification model is designed and audited to ensure equitable trade practices at every level of the supply chain. It is a product certification system designed to allow people to identify products that meet agreed environmental, labor and developmental standards. To earn a license from Fair Trade USA to use the Fair Trade Certified™ label on their products, companies must buy from certified farms and organizations, pay Fair Trade prices and premiums, and submit to rigorous supply chain audits.
For more definitions on other food label buzzwords, click here.
(Additional Resources 1, 2, 3, 4)