“You know the greatest paradox? All the certification organizations have offices in Costa Rica – and yet, the country has the smallest share of certified coffee in Central America.” I stare, taken aback by the passion of the speaker. I am in a conference room with the specialists in Costa Rican coffee production, about to discuss … Continue reading Is Costa Rica Breaking Out Of The Certification Box?
As I am sitting in a bare-walled apartment, my bags packed and my train ticket for the trip home tomorrow printed out, I have started to reflect back on my time here in Brussels, and I hope to share some of the thoughts and experiences I had soon. But until that time, I have found … Continue reading Global Pre-Christmas Roundup!
Hey peeps, how is your Tuesday? Are you looking for a reason to procrastinate and not feel bad about it? Well, you are in luck, because I have a list of informative and entertaining videos for your viewing pleasure today! Guaranteed to give you some food for thought… on the origins of agriculture (via CrashCourse … Continue reading Video Times!
Happy Tuesday! If anybody else need help to start their day (my pot of coffee is already brewing), here are some interesting and entertaining little videos to get your brain juices flowing: This is a satirical take on the meaning of the “all-natural” label you can find on so many products and whose lack of … Continue reading Let’s Watch Some TV – Just the Good Kind Though 😉
When I was grocery shopping yesterday evening, I came across this little symbol in the middle of the cereal aisle: Yup, not only does my grocery store offer free wifi (perfect for those of us without 3G networks to look up the recipes we wanted to make and the requisite ingredients), it also encourages shoppers … Continue reading Swedish Supermarkets – And Pastry Appreciation Days
If you enter a grocery store and see an item claiming to be “100% natural”, what associations do you make? Would you assume it’s less processed? Healthier? Possibly even organic? At least if you live in the United States, as Marion Nestle explains on her blog, none of those assumptions actually need to be the case. This is because the label “natural” – as opposed to organic, for example – has never been properly regulated by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration), so they see the use of it as fair game as long as “the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.”
Continuing with our mini-series, after our first installment, let’s turn to a buzzword that has gotten a lot of attention in the last years: grass-fed and/or pasture-raised animal products.
What is the label’s motto/what does it stand for?
The idea of grass-fed ruminants and pasture-raised other animals is that this production method is much more close to their natural environment and results in better animal welfare, better quality meat products and less environmental stress. Ruminants (cows, goats, sheep, etc.) are designed to eat and digest mainly fibrous grasses, plants and shrubs, and not starchy, low-fibre grains which they would get in an industrial setting. Therefore, pastured animals avoid a number of disorders that regularly occur in industrialized animal operations, such as “subacute acidosis”, which have to be combatted with the use of antibiotics. In addition, the meat of grass-fed beef, bison, lamb and goat is healthier for humans, too (according to this website, which based its information on this study, it has “less total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. It also has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid“).
Last time I was talking about Labeling Fables I floated the idea of unveiling some of the most prominent labels so you know what you are buying in the grocery store. Well, here is installment #1: Starting with one of the most famous labels around: Fairtrade. Chances are, you know it stands for fair trade (duh.) and treating producers more fairly in the value chain. But how exactly does that work?
Watch Urvashi Rangan from the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group for Consumer Reports make a powerful argument for the need for the three Ts in food labeling: Truth, Trust and Transparency. Here are her main points if you don’t have the time to listen to her eloquent presentation: Many labels, such as “natural” or “fresh”, have … Continue reading Labeling Fables