Certified organic label on cabbageBeing an informed shopper will help you get the most value for your money as you move towards a more organic, green and sustainable lifestyle.  The following list is a good, but very basic, start to understanding labels.

100% Organic

For single source products like fruits, vegetables, meat, milk etc this label indicates that the item was produced using organic agricultural methods and products.

For multisource products like clothing, cleaning products, fibres and more this label indicates that the entire product was made using certified organic products and methods.

Organic

This label indicates a product that was grown and/or produced using 95% organic ingredients.

Made with Organic Ingredients

This label on a product indicates that the product was produced using at least 70% organic ingredients.  The label on these products should indicate which ingredients are, in fact, organic.

Contains Organic Ingredients

Products bearing this label contain less than 70% organic ingredients and again, the label should indicate which ingredients are organic.

Free Range / Free Roaming

The above label has relevance to meat, poultry and eggs.  This means that the animals were given daily access to the outside.  Be aware though, this does not necessarily mean that the animals actually went outside.

No Antibiotics Administered / Raised Without Antibiotics

Foods covered are beef, lamb, pork, poultry, dairy and eggs.  These animals were not given any routine or other antibiotics.

No Hormones Administered

Foods covered by this label include beef, lamb, pork and poultry.   No hormones were administered to these animals during their life time.

Grass fed  / Grass pastured

Foods covered are beef and lamb.  These animals were primarily fed grass but they did not necessarily roam freely.  It does, however, mean that these animals were not fed grains or animal by-products.

Natural /Authentic

These labels has no legal meaning and really could mean anything.  Check the ingredient list of these products carefully before paying ‘more’ for a product when it not worth the cost of the label. In South Africa I have noticed that this label is often mis-used on cosmetic products.

The move back to a more sustainable lifestyle will not be without its humps and bumps and the occasional opportunist who will try to make a quick buck off of the backs of uninformed consumers.  It is the duty of you, the consumer, to ‘vote’ with your Rands and cents.  We can, I believe, still turn the ship towards a more sustainable future for ourselves and for future generations.