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Organic Consumers Association

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From Organic to Fair Trade: What Food Certifications Really Mean

Not all food and beverage certifications are created equally. Some things, like the sourcing and purification of bottled water, are strictly overseen by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Other labels, like natural flavoring, are umbrella terms used to describe combinations of up to 100 different essences, oils or even chemicals.

Which labels and certifications are regulated? Which are just marketing speak? Here are some common food certifications worth understanding:

American Grassfed

The American Grassfed Association awards its eponymous certification to meat, dairy and “pasture pork” produced by animals that have fed only on grass and foraging from weaning until harvest. Grassfed-certified animals are also unconfined, never treated with antibiotics or hormones, and born and raised entirely on American farmland. And the grass in grassfed, for what it’s worth, actually means grasses, forbs, legumes, brassicas, browse and post-harvest crop residue without grain.

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