TOP TEN THINGS ABOUT FOOD THAT STRESS PEOPLE OUT (AND WHY THEY AREN’T REALLY A PROBLEM!)

Food labels. Two words that are taken more seriously by consumers than any scientific reasoning, fact, or common sense explanation. Do the food labels you commonly see stress you out? Throw that stress away because you have nothing to worry about! Let’s take a further look into the labels causing all the controversy.

GMO-FREE

The most popular, and most feared food label in the market. So what is a GMO? GMO stands for genetically modified organism. Sounds scary, right? Wrong. GMOs are simply a result of modifying plant traits, produced to increase yields in order to increase food supply, reduce pesticide use, and eliminate diseases in crops. GMOs ensure a safer, and healthier food system for consumers. 

HORMONE-FREE

Hormones occur naturally in humans and animals. So what does a hormone-free label mean? Absolutely nothing, hormone-free meat does not exist. It’s called fear-based marketing, and it works. Need more convincing? Check out these hormone facts. 

LOCALLY GROWN

There is no exact definition for “locally grown.” Retailers are free to set their own standards for what is considered local. The “locally grown” label could describe food that is produced within 100 miles of the store or maybe just harvested within the same state. So when shopping local, don’t always expect that the food is grown a few miles from the grocery store door.

ALL NATURAL

Possibly the most widely used term in food labeling, “the FDA has not developed a definition for the use of the term natural or its derivatives.” So in other words… the “All Natural” label could be defined as healthy hogwash. 

ORGANIC

If you dig into the term “organic” a little further, you will find that organic isn’t exactly the picture you have in your head of rolling green fields and ripe produce. Straight from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “The term “organic” is not defined by law or regulations FDA enforces.” This label can easily be thrown into the healthy hogwash family as a close sister to “All Natural.” 

FARM FRESH

Farm Fresh. According to Paul Shapiro, vice president of the Humane Society of the U.S. and an expert on commercial egg production, “”It literally means nothing.”

Well, at least we have nothing to stress about with that term… 

CAGE-FREE

Cage-free eggs may not be all they are cracked up to be, literally. Cage-free is another renowned term that is loosely defined. Cage-free and free-range are two different methods used in poultry production, both incurring their own advantages and disadvantages.

PESTICIDE-FREE

A term commonly found in the same sentence as organic farming. It is completely FALSE to say that organic farms don’t use pesticides. Organic farms still use pesticides from the USDA National List of approved pesticides, and it’s quite long. 

NO ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS

Artificial doesn’t mean dangerous. Artificial ingredients and additives are “strictly studied, regulated and monitored,” according to the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, artificial ingredients have been studied more in depth and are believed to be safer than natural ingredients because of this. 

CERTIFIED HUMANE

Meant to target the animal-compassionate consumer, this label has no significant meaning behind it. Livestock farmers are dedicated to the well-being of their livestock and ensuring that all needs of the livestock are met to produce high-quality food products for consumers.

All of these food labels have one thing in common, marketing strategy and misconception. Tricky, right? Don’t stress. Keep one thought in mind. Farmers eat the same food on their table, as you do on yours. A farmer’s job is to produce safe and healthy food to feed the world. Trust the farmer, not the label.

trust the farmer

carli millerCarli Miller
University of Illinois student

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4 Responses to TOP TEN THINGS ABOUT FOOD THAT STRESS PEOPLE OUT (AND WHY THEY AREN’T REALLY A PROBLEM!)

  1. Wisconsin guy says:

    Why would you choose to quote someone from the Humane Society of the United States under your section about the Farm Fresh label? How on Earth did someone so anti-agriculture earn the title of expert on egg production?

  2. Reblogged this on Footsteps of a Farmer's Daughter and commented:
    Check out my blog post on Corn Corps! #IllinoisCorn

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