Video Times!

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!

What Is “Natural”?

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.”

Do you fancy some 100% all natural dinosaur meat?
Image by Dawn Endico, via Flickr CC.

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Labels Unveiled: Grass-Fed and Pasture-Raised

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“).

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Labels Unveiled: Fairtrade

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?

The blue and green logo is instantaneously recognizable and can be found on a plethora of products.
Image by Richard Thomas, via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Labeling Fables

Watch Urvashi Rangan from theĀ 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