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natural Archives - Greener Choices

Posts Tagged ‘natural’

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.

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?

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.

Antibiotic use in organic chicken hatcheries

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Improving the Organic Label

Prohibiting Antibiotics in Hatcheries

Federal law prohibits the use of antibiotics in organic farming, with one exception: chickens until the second day of life can be given antibiotics. We believe the U.S. Department of Agriculture should prohibit the use of all antibiotics in organic production, including day-old chicks, and we're working to make this happen.

Consumer Survey

What Consumers Think

According to our 2015 survey, 60% of consumers think that the organic label means antibiotics were never used. An even greater percentage think that the organic label should mean this: 72% responded that antibiotics should never be used, and 79% responded that antibiotics should only be used to treat sick animals.

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Taking Action

Our Advocacy Work on Antibiotics in Organics

We wrote to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in January 2014 requesting that the agency prohibit administering antibiotics to chicks that will be raised as "organic."  In June 2015, we wrote a detailed letter to the Secretary of Agriculture to request that the agency take action. The Secretary of Agriculture responded in August 2015 that the agency will request a recommendation on this issue from the National Organic Standards Board.

Know Your Labels

What You Can Do

When buying poultry, look for the "USDA Organic" seal along with a "raised without antibiotics" claim. Producers making a "raised without antibiotics" or similar claim are prohibited from using antibiotics at any stage of life, including day-old chicks.

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Consumers Union Ban

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Call for Complete Ban

Know your Labels

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Consumer Reports

Food Safety and Sustainability

Know Your Labels

Don't fall for menu labeling traps. Make sure you know what the terms mean

The organic claim on wine can be tricky! 100% Organic, Organic, and made with Organic Grapes all have different official meanings.

Organic Watchdog

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Consumer Reports

Food Safety and Sustainability

Organic Watchdog

Antibiotic use in organic chicken hatcheries

The Secretary of Agriculture responded to our request to start the process of prohibiting antibiotics in organic chicken hatcheries. Currently, chickens that will be raised and sold as “organic” can be given antibiotics until the second day of life.

Misleading Food Labels

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Consumer Reports

Food Safety and Sustainability

December 2015

Tell FDA—Fix the “Natural” Label

In any grocery store aisle, you’re likely to see foods with labels like “natural” or “naturally raised.” According to a national phone survey by Consumer Reports’ Survey Research Center, almost 60 percent of consumers look for the natural label when they shop. Many consumers expect food labeled “natural” is similar to organic food: