Eco-eating is on the rise as an increasing number of people are concerned about what is in their food and how it is processed. Labeling food products to identify production practices and the pedigree of ingredients is a practice food producers are adopting as a way to help consumer know what they are purchasing. With a number of certifications and seals appearing on food, it can difficult to determine what the labels mean.
Fair Trade Certified™ is found on products like coffee, cocoa, and bananas. This mark indicates that producers and traders have met Fair Trade standards established by Fair Trade USA. Standards aim to ensure disadvantaged farmers and farmers are justly compensated for their labor. Producers are required to be paid a Fair Trade price for their goods.
USDA Organic label means the food was produced without the use of non-approved synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, irradiation and sewage sludge. A third party certification system is used which follows established organic regulations.
Animal Welfare Approved is used by farmers who certify their animals have continual access to pasture, as well as freedom to perform instinctive behaviors including interacting with other animals. Slaughter standards include limiting animal stress and prohibiting the use of electrical prods. Standards for Animal Welfare Approved have been developed by scientists, veterinarians, researchers and farmers.