Understanding food labels

what food labels mean

Ever wonder what all those labels on the packages of meat really mean? Here’s how to know what you are actually getting when you purchase beef:

  • Feed allowed – Grass is the best feed for cattle! Most cattle spend time in a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) where they are fattened up with corn and other grains. This causes all kinds of health problems and changes the nutrients in the meat.
  • Access to Pasture – Even if cattle never leave their stalls, the label can still claim that it has access to pasture. You need to find out exactly what “access to pasture” means.
  • Antibiotics – Cattle in CAFOs are fed a continuous diet of antibiotics which contributes to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
  • Growth Hormones – Most cattle in the US receive growth hormones
  • Animal Welfare – Some labels can be quite vague regarding animal welfare.

Certification labels analyzed are:

  • USDA Certified Organic -Foods labeled “organic” must consist of at least 95% organically produced ingredients.  The other 5% must be approved by the USDA. They can not be produced with any antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides, petroleum or sewage-sludge based fertilizers, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.
  • 100% Organic –  Foods labeled “100% organic” must consist of only organic ingredients and processing aids.
  • USDA Certified Grassfed – If an animal consumes something other than grass it must be documented but it can still have this label; antibiotics are allowed; growth hormones allowed; access to pasture not defined
  • American Grassfed Association – Grass only; animals spend majority of time on pasture; antibiotics only given to sick animals; no growth hormones allowed
  • Certified Humane Raised and Handled – Grass, corn and grain are allowed; access to pasture not required; growth hormones prohibited; antibiotics given to sick animals only
  • Food Alliance Certified – Grass, corn and grain allowed; access to pasture required; animals spend the majority of their lives on pasture; antibiotics given to sick animals only; growth hormones prohibited; animal welfare requirements very specific concerning health, shelter and handling
  • Animal Welfare Approved – Grass, corn and grain allowed; access to pasture required; animals spend the majority of their lives on pasture; antibiotics given to sick animals only; no growth hormones allowed; animal welfare requirements very specific regarding health, shelter and handling of animals

 

 

About the author

Clean Eating Online

Click here to add a comment

Leave a comment: