You have probably seen a variety of certifications on food products when shopping at the grocery store, like the Fairtrade Mark, or the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue fish and/or the Non-GMO Project label. While these certifications are showing up more and more, there’s still confusion as to what they actually mean.
If you’re like many shoppers, you want to know how the food you buy impacts people and the planet, including how it was grown, harvested and produced, and each of these labels can help!
October is traditionally Fair Trade Month, National Seafood Month and Non-GMO Month, all of which are a great reminder to focus on food sustainability and traceable supply chains. But this year, consumers can celebrate all three during the newly coined “Good Food Month.” The three organizations behind the labels are coming together to make it easier than ever for shoppers to buy goods that do good. By looking for the little third-party certification labels that are making a big impact in our food systems, consumers can shop sustainably throughout the grocery store. Here is what to look for, and what each of the labels mean:
1. The blue and green farmer: Farming is the single largest employer in the world — two out of every five people farm for a living! Purchasing goods with the Fairtrade America logo is an easy way to make a difference in the lives of people who grow our food, enabling them to earn a decent income, to support their families, and to invest in their communities. Look for the logo on coffee, tea, chocolate, produce, cotton and more! By buying Fairtrade products, you are also helping to combat climate change, support gender equality, end child labor and protect workers’ rights.
2. The blue fish: From the seafood counter to canned or pouched fish, to frozen seafood, and even pet food and supplements, look for the blue fish label from the MSC for seafood that is wild caught and certified sustainable. Products with the blue fish label are independently verified as environmentally sustainable, and are traceable back to a sustainable source in order to fight fraud and mislabeling.
3. The butterfly: Processed foods — especially those containing corn, soy and sugar derivatives — dairy, meat and eggs, fruit and vegetables, snack foods, vitamins and supplements, vegetable oils, body care products and more can carry the Non-GMO Project’s butterfly label. In buying products with the butterfly label, sustainability-minded shoppers will know they’re avoiding consuming genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
No matter the grocery store or aisle, there is a label to look for that will help you feel good that your purchase is having a positive impact on the planet and on people’s lives. Celebrate in October and beyond to ensure you and your family can make a positive impact on our food system.