That can make it tricky to figure out if something is really as sustainable or natural as it claims—and what do they all mean anyway?
Breaking these labels and rankings down is helpful so you can shop for items that match your principles, diet, and health concerns. Below, seven sustainability labels and ratings systems, explained.
If you're just getting started, here's a handy guide to many of the more common food labels, like free range, pasture-raised, and no hormones, and you can also explore third-party verified labels such as Certified Humane, Animal Welfare Approved, and American Humane Certified, as well as the two most recent major labels below.
One of the biggest obstacles facing the consumer demand for affordable organic food is the limit of organic farmland (currently only 1% of U.S. farmland is organic). As conventional farmers work toward going back to their organic farming roots, it takes three years of transition to become officially organic certified by the USDA. During that transition, farmers essentially behave like organic growers but must sell food at conventional prices. Spearheaded by Kellogg-owned Kashi, The Organic Trade Association announced the new Certified Transitional label this year as a way to increase domestic organic production and offer consumers a way to purchase affordable food certified to avoid genetically modified seeds and prohibited conventional synthetic pesticides.
The American Grassfed Association (AGA) has offered certified grassfed meat for almost a decade. Now, to meet consumer demand for grassfed dairy products, the AGA has launched a new standard and certification process for grassfed dairy producers. The Certified American Grassfed Standard for dairy is the product of a collaborative effort including major organic dairy producers like Organic Valley. The new standard addresses what cows can eat, animal health and confinement, as well as sustainability. You can find this new label...