Labels to Look For

By Adam Eisman and the Great Green Home Show, GREENandSAVE
Posted on Sunday 5th April 2009

When purchasing food it is important to consider the source, and also the means by which it was brought to market. To ensure that the food you buy is organic, safe, and processed in environmentally sustainable ways, look for either the USDA Organic label, or the Fair Trade label.

USDA Organic - This will be found on dairy products, produce, coffee, grains, meat and beverages such as juice and wine. This label certifies that the product complies with USDA production standards. The organic label is not as meaningful on cosmetics and personal care products.

Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewer sludge; bioengineering; or iodizing radiation.

Before a product can be labeled "organic", a government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA Organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to the local supermarket or restaurant must be certified as well.

Fair Trade - The criteria for use of this label on food ensures that a fair price is guaranteed to the farmer. Trans Fair USA program also supports credit plans and training, limits harmful pesticide use, and encourages sustainable farming especially in developing countries.

The most widely recognized definition of Fair Trade was created by FINE, an informal association of the four main Fair Trade networks (Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International, International Fair Trade Association, Network of European World shops, and European Fair Trade Association) dictates that Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers - especially in the South. is a free resource for anyone that wants to save energy, money, and the environment. The articles, product reviews, online tools, and return on investment calculations are researched from a diverse range of public and private sector sources. Overall, the company is passionate about saving money as well as creating healthy homes, offices, and lifestyles.

For information on how to eat more sustainably, and live more efficiently, take a look at GREENandSAVE's tips on a Green Lifestyle. Or, if you are interested in some Home Remodeling Tips, you can find those there as well.

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