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Labels Archives - Greener Choices

Posts Tagged ‘Labels’

Fixing the “Natural” Label

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What's wrong with "natural"?

Media Coverage

"Natural" In the News

Widespread media coverage of our efforts to ban the "natural" label or define it in a meaningful way is raising awareness among consumers, and putting pressure on government agencies to take action.

Consumers Taking Action

What You Can Do

If you're looking for foods grown without the use of most synthetic pesticides, no GMOs, no antibiotics and limited artificial ingredients, leave foods labeled "natural" on the shelf and look for foods with the USDA Certified Organic label instead. 

Media Coverage

"Natural" In the News

Widespread media coverage of our efforts to ban the "natural" label or define it in a meaningful way is raising awareness among consumers, and putting pressure on government agencies to take action.

June 24, 2014

Citizen Petitions

In June 2014, we submitted citizen petitions to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, asking the agencies to ban the "natural" label on the foods they regulate.

 

May 10, 2016

Our comment to the FDA

Consumer Surveys

America’s Most Wanted Food Labels Conference

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Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center has prepared a guide to third-party certification labels commonly found on meat and poultry products. Labels have several advantages: publicly available standards, independent verification, and meaningful requirements for animal welfare that go beyond industry norms (e.g. prohibiting gestation crates, increasing living space requirements). In this way, meaningful, certified labels provide the highest level of assurance for consumers.

The Center’s guide highlights the policies of third-party labels regarding routine uses of all antibiotics, including those important in human medicine as well as animal antibiotics like ionophores, and other drugs like beta-agonists and hormones. We also review their animal welfare and farm management standards. You can use this detailed guide to make more informed decisions about the health, safety and sustainability of the meat and poultry you buy, and help move the marketplace in a better direction.

Food Labels

Americas Most Wanted

What consumers can do to take action against misleading labels. A comprehensive list of the facts about labels and the need to differentiate between the facts and the lies.

Conference

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The Organic Label on Food is highly meaningful and in manyways meets consumer expectations.It is backed by federal regulations which encourage sustainable farming practices...

What makes a good Label?

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Did you know?

Did you know?

Nearly half of consumers think the "natural" label is verified.

It isn't.

Labels

Makes a Good Label?

Generally, the best labels are seals or logos indicating that an independent organization has verified that the producer met a set of meaningful and consistent standards for environmental stewardship, animal welfare and/or social justice.

Rating labels

Criteria We Use to Evaluate Labels

When we evaluate and rate labels, we use the following criteria:

 

Labels should be backed by a set of meaningful standards. The standards should have requirements that go beyond the industry norm or basic legal requirements. These standards should be verifiable by the certifying group or another independent inspection organization.

A label used on one product should have the same meaning if it used on other products. Standards should be verifiable in a consistent manner for different products.

The organization behind a label should make information about its organizational structure, funding, board of directors, and certification standards available to the public.

Certifying organizations and their employees should not have any ties to, and should not receive any funding, sales fees, or contributions, from logo users except fees for certification. Employees of companies whose products are certified, or who are applying for certification, should not be affiliated in any way with the certifier.

All standards should be developed with input from multiple stakeholders including consumers, industry, environmentalists and social representatives in a way that doesn't compromise the independence of the certifier. Industry representatives, for example, can play an important advisory role without having direct financial, decision making or management ties to the certifier.

A Deep Dive into Chicken Labels

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Criteria Overview

Chicken Label Report

As consumers become increasingly concerned with how food is produced and how farm animals are raised and treated, farmers and companies are responding with various labels and claims. Labels or claims generally aim to assure consumers that the food was produced in a better way - whether it be more humane, sustainable or healthy - but they can vary widely in how meaningful they are and in what is actually required.

The chart below is designed to help you better understand the different labels and claims you'll find on chicken. We looked at 23 different labels you might find on a package of chicken, and what they actually require for 17 different areas that affect either animal welfare (e.g., whether the chickens can go outdoors), public health (e.g., prudent antibiotic use) and sustainability (e.g., whether the chicken feed contains genetically engineered crops).

Whole Foods “Responsibly Grown” Label

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Label Search Results

Preserving the integrity of the organic label

  1. Unrated: Not meaningful.; Good, Better, Best: Somewhat meaningful.
  2. The label is not always third-party certified before it can be used and displayed.
  3. It is a scored rating system, which is not consistent.
  4. The Responsibly Grown label was developed by staff at Whole Foods Market.
  5. The standards for the Responsibly Farmed label were developed by Whole Foods Market staff in collaboration with certain non-profit organizations that were chosen by Whole Foods to collaborate.

Category Pest ManagementSustainable Agriculture

Where You'll Find this Label: Food; Fruit, Vegetables, Legumes and Grains

How meaningful is this label?

Not - Somewhat meaningful1

Has the this lable been verified?

No2

Is the meaning of the label consistent?

No3

Are the label standards publicly available?

Yes

Is the meaning of the label consistent?

Yes

Is the organization free from conflict of interest?

No4

Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?

No5

November 2014

What this Label Means

Keeping Standards

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Whole Foods Responsibly Grown

The Following Areas:

Pest management
Biodiversity and ecosystem conservation:
Air, Energy and Climate
Whole Foods Responsibly Grown

The Following Areas:

Soil health
Waste reduction
Water conservation and protection
Farmworkers

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Whole Foods Responsibly Grown

Consumer Union Evaluation

Is the label verified?
Is the meaning of the label consistent?
Are the label standards publicly available?
Whole Foods Responsibly Grown

Consumer Union Evaluation

Is information about the organization publicly available?
Is the organization free from conflict of interest?
Is the organization free from conflict of interest?
Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?

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Whole Foods Responsibly Grown

Consumer Union Evaluation

How it stacks up against Organic and Fair Trade labels
A more in-depth look at Whole Foods Responsibly Grown and other labels
How meaningful is the label?
Whole Foods Responsibly Grown

Consumer Union Evaluation

Is the label verified?
Is the meaning of the label consistent?
Are the label standards publicly available?

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Whole Foods Responsibly Grown

Consumer Union Evaluation

Is information about the organization publicly available?
Is the organization free from conflict of interest?
Is the organization free from conflict of interest?
Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?

National Organic Standards Board: Fall 2015 Agenda

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September 2015

What’s on the agenda for the Fall 2015 meeting?

How you can get involved

September 2015

The following agenda items are particularly important for maintaining the integrity of the organic label

Nutrient vitamins and minerals
Phosphate food additives
Ancillary substances
Fish Oil
Celery Powder
Antibiotics in hatcheries

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National Organic Standard Board Spring 2015 meeting

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May 2015

Reporting from the National Organic Standards Board Spring 2015 meeting

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Call for Misleading or Confusing Labels

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March 2014

Call for misleading or confusing labels

We are updating our ecolabels.org. database, and we need your help. Have you ever come across a label or a claim on a food package that you found baffling, misleading or confusing? If so, we want to hear from you.

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Email

Please send a picture of the label in an email to labels@cr.consumer.org

Please send a picture of the label an include the following information:

  • Image attachment
  • What you saw it on
  • Where you saw it (store, location)
  • Date

And while it’s optional, we’d also love to hear your thoughts on what you think of this label or claim.

Ban Natural petitions

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June 2014

Consumer Reports Food Safety & Sustainability Center's Petition to the USDA to Ban Natural

Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center and the undersigned submit this petition under 5 U.S.C. 553(e)) and 7 CFR 1.28 and 9 CFR 392 to request the Secretary of Agriculture to issue an interpretive rule prohibiting the “natural” label on meat and poultry products.

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June 2014

Consumer Reports Food Safety & Sustainability Center's Petition to the FDA to Ban Natural

Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center and the undersigned submit this petition under 5 USC 553(e) and 21 CFR 10.25 and 10.30, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to request the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to issue an interpretive rule prohibiting the “natural” label on foods.

Related Content

Consumer Reports 2014 label survey

Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center and the undersigned submit this petition under 5 USC 553(e) and 21 CFR 10.25 and 10.30, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to request the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to issue an interpretive rule prohibiting the “natural” label on foods.

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Related Content

Other supporting documents

On November 7, 2013, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) amended its prior label approval system regulations to expand the circumstances in which certain types of labels and labeling are generically approved. This rule will be effective on January 6, 2014.

Voices rise against misleading food labels

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December 2014

Voices rise against misleading food labels

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