You strive to keep your home as toxic free as possible. Buying organic food, growing your own seasonal produce, and creating a chemical free environment for your family are your goals. How would you feel if you found out that some of your so-called organic and green products were not living up to their labels? The Huffington Post recently reported that a green or organic label may not be as sustainable and clean as you hoped. This discovery has led to organic and green consumers paying closer attention to what their labels really mean. In an effort to help you stay green, here are five myths about green and organic labeling.
Green Products are Sustainable and Safe
A green-labeled product simply means the product itself meets the qualifications to be labeled as environmentally friendly. The process to obtain that label may not be so friendly. For example, fibers used for well-known green-labeled paper products come from trees in the Taiga forest. These trees offer high quality paper products, but the cost is severe since the trees are not easily replenished. The product is green and natural, but the process itself depletes the beauty of the Taiga forest.
Organic Means GMO Free
Organic labels are plentiful in supermarkets across the country. The myth is this label means that the entire product is organic and GMO free. The truth is, the organic label refers to the method the food was raised or grown. It does not necessarily refer to the food itself. In the United States, a food that is from a GMO based seed can still get the organic label if the soil was not connected to GMO research and was organic.
Organic Meat Labels Mean Humane Treatment of Animals
There is a common myth that if a meat product is labeled as organic, then the animal was treated and processed humanly throughout the entire process. In 2010, Perdue chicken plants faced major lawsuits for inhumane treatment of animals. During several investigations, it came to light that several groups of chickens sent to the plant for processing had been labeled organic. This happened because the regulation for an organic meat label is based on how the animal was raised rather than how it was processed. This lead organic food buyers to search for local farms and name brands who were not connected with major names such as Perdue.
The Government Regulates all Free and Clean Product Labels
Did you know there is no current government regulation on free and clean labels for cleaning or household products? Any product that is free of dyes, which trigger allergic reactions, can be labeled as free and clean. These free and clean products may still contain chemicals that are harmful to green living families and households. In fact, labels of free, clean, clear, and all natural are not currently regulated by any government based organization or authority.
All Natural Bath Products are Better for Families
Though most major name brands of natural bath and body products do try to maintain a standard for green and organic, some do not. In recent years, organic bath and body companies have received the most criticism from green living organizations. Since natural labels are not governed by a regulating organization, companies will use the label when a natural item is used. For example, a baby wash containing lavender and chamomile extracts may be labeled as natural even though the was contains chemicals found to be harmful for the environment. You are still receiving the same nasty chemicals, the only difference is the label.
Avoiding These Myths and Maintaining a Natural Healthy Home
There are ways to avoid these issues and myths and still maintain a natural and healthy home. Research your labels and ingredients. Know the scientific or chemical name for natural ingredients. For example, sodium chloride may seem like a harsh chemical if you do not know that it is another name for salt. Also, research what it is about the product that allowed it to receive the label. If a product says all natural, research to determine if the process in creating the product was natural, if only the product itself is natural, or if the packaging is natural. In some cases, you may find only the packaging meets the requirements, but the entire product gets the label.
There are green, natural, and truly organic products on the market. As the consumer, it is your responsibility to educate yourself and determine which products meet the true criteria and which ones fall under the myth. This education is vital in creating a true natural and healthy home life for you and your family.