Definitions of Common Food Labels


Sometimes I find myself walking into a store and just going for the fair trade, organic, all natural, etc… labels. A lot of it is pretty easy to figure out, but sometimes, you want to be able to explain why you are making those choices (and justify the extra $$ spent). You also want to be sure you are really getting what you think you are. Read labels, and also understand that buying organic naturally sweetened pop tarts (which yes, I buy sometimes) doesn’t mean they aren’t loaded with sugar and fat. Organic doesn’t always mean it’s a healthy choice, but still better than the alternative. Common sense peeps. Anyway, Here are some definitions to some of those terms you may not always be sure about.

USDA Organic: Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. Find more about organic foods at

Side note from me: Use common sense. If you truly can’t afford to buy everything organic, skip it on the bananas, avocados, and fruits and veggies with thick skin that aren’t as affected buy pesticides and other chemicals. If you eat meat or animal products… PLEASE try to buy organic. There are so many more pesticides found in meat than on fruits and veggies, even though we don’t think about pesticides in meat. When you buy organic, you aren’t only getting healthier products, you are supporting major improvements in agriculture practices. Good for you, good for the planet.

All Natural: Legally, food labeled “natural” does not contain any artificial ingredients, coloring ingredients, or chemical preservatives, and, in the case of meat and poultry, is minimally processed. Meat from animals treated with artificial hormones can (and is) labeled “natural,” as is meat injected with saline solution (claimed to add flavor, which it does, but it also adds considerable weight to a product sold by the pound).

Side note from me: You see it everywhere now. Even on foods that always have been “all natural”, because it’s obviously selling. Yes, it’s better than buying something that has obvious artificial ingredients, so while it may not be organic, it’s still better than nothing. But really think about what they are saying about meat… you may still be getting artificial hormones. YUCK!

Fair Trade: Fair Trade is a tool for reducing poverty in developing nations. It’s a form of trade that buildsequitable and long-term partnerships between producers in developing regions of the world and consumers in the north. Find out more at

Side note from me: One thing I try to buy is organic, fair trade coffee. It’s easy to do… you can find it almost anywhere. And it’s nice to go your are getting a pesticide free product, and you are doing something good for the world.

Happy Shopping!

All Moodiness, Tawny