The more you pay attention around supermarkets these days, the more you will notice not only the detail on general food labels but also organic labels that pop up on all sorts of products, from your favourite apples to the chicken in aisle 4.
Organic labels are displayed on those products in supermarkets and food stores that have been grown, reared or produced following extremely rigorous and legal standards of production and welfare, including:
- Zero use of antibiotics, pesticides, and GMOs
- Significant consideration to the immediate and broader environment by way of water and land pollution reduction
- Organic feed for organically reared animals
- No preservatives
And this list is far from extensive!
Organic labels often attract a higher price tag as you well know, which, given the rigorous legislations they have to be farmed or grown against, it is not surprising that a more labour-intensive production process requires more money to produce, which is then absorbed into the price to the consumer.
Do You Know the Meaning of Organic Labels?
As consumers, we have become mindless shoppers.
Broadly, we head to the most convenient place for the most convenient food to make the most convenient meals, paying (generally speaking) little to no attention to the numerous labels on each separate ingredient or product we pop in a basket.
This is not a surprising feature of the busy lives we lead as a society today.
Organic labelling can vary in the UK, and the top 3 you might notice are:
- The Soil Association – This is the primary legislative association that certifies that your products are traceable, fall in line with their standards, and provide consumers that they have investigated any ethical concerns surrounding the product.
- Organic Food Federation – Their standards are based on EU legislation and ensure that any certified ingredients are not being regularly exploited in the natural environments.
- Organic Farmers & Growers – This is a certification that allows people who produce food to go through a process to become organically certified.
Of course, there are many more “organic” labels out there, specifically in commercial settings, that may be linked to specific products or the way they are produced, which leads us nicely into the reliability or organic status labelling.
Can You Trust Organic Labels Really?
This can be answered very simply with a resounding YES, if, and only if the organic label you see is a reputable one.
Of course, not everyone is used to reading food labels (and sometimes don’t have the time to if we are honest with ourselves!), and food labelling can be entirely new for you!
The most crucial thing to remember first is that the classification of organic production is governed in law, so if a certifiable body has stamped their mark of organic approval onto a product, then the production of that item (and we say ‘item’ because it is not just foodstuff that can be classified as organic!) has passed many layers of organic legislation in law.
Why are Organic Items Governed by Legislation?
The answer to this is simple!
Organic foods are a heavily invested area of business, both for food and other products such as cosmetics and household products.
Over many years, both the public and professional bodies have called for increased transparency in producing more mindful products with the added assurances that organic items offer, such as increased environmental aspects and welfare concerns.
The organic certifications are only awarded to those producers who produce their products against some seriously tough standards, which often make their products cleaner and greener in a holistic sense.
The organic labels they display show that they have made their products in accordance with legislation and have met all of the required classification standards to be called “organic.”
Is Organic Food Really Organic?
To know for sure if organic food is really organic, we need to look out for the standard organic labels displayed on the items that have met the organic production and development thresholds.
Of course, this can be distinguished in a commercial setting, such as a supermarket, as the organic labels are clearly visible when looked for; they are displayed as a way of setting those products apart from the non-organic items by way of labelling them differently.
For shoppers seeking organic items, this can also make them easier to identify.
But Is Organic Food Really Organic?
You can rest assured that when you see one of the standard regulatory body labels on a food product, it has passed all of the required legal measures from its origin to the shelves to be classed as organic.
However, this does not stop many other products from being organic without displaying the certification, such as homegrown and home-reared produce; often, the products that come directly from farms and independent farm shops and butchers, for example.
These products are probably the very best choices for being ethical and free from pesticides and artificial growth mechanisms.
Although some products may not have the official organic stamp of approval, it does not always mean that they have not been grown against organic standards; they just don’t carry a label to show their authenticity has passed in law (more often than not, they don’t have any packaging of any kind, which is always better!).
The Last Organic Word
So, do you think you can trust organic labels on your commercially produced food?
We would say yes, as long as the label you see is a legally recognised governing body that qualifies to regulate organic producers.
Organic labels can be displayed by any product that has passed the rigorous organic standards set out in EU law.
You can be assured that if the label is there, the criteria have been met in law.
Of course, you may see many organic labels placed on products that aren’t governed, so be cautious of the authenticity of these ones!
And finally, we do need to hail to produce from our farmers, growers, and independent producers who may actually be providing organically grown produce on smallholdings and private farms, just without the certification.
These are often the best quality products you can find out there.