7 Eco-Responsible Food Terms You Should Know

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7 Eco-Responsible Food Terms You Should Know

Understanding These Buzzwords Can Make For Easier Shopping
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7 Eco-Responsible Food Terms You Should Know

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 7:30am

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The other day, I was grocery shopping and I realized just how fraught with choice my expedition was. Vegetarian-fed or cage-free? Pastured or local? Fair-trade or bird-friendly? 

By now we all know what organic means, but beyond that, there’s a whole world of terms, certifications and buzzwords that both help us and confuse us in our quest to buy the most environmentally-friendly foods we can find. 

To make your food shopping a little less daunting, here are some terms you might encounter on labels, in restaurants, or in the media. Once you know what each term actually means you can decide for yourself if they’re important to you. 

1. Cage-Free: According to the USDA, this term, referring to egg-laying chickens, means, “This label indicates that the flock was able to freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle.” However, there aren’t specific parameters for the conditions in which the animals are kept regarding crowding, lighting and fresh air. It’s important to note that “cage-free” does not mean that the chickens have access to the outdoors. 

2. Free-Range: This USDA-regulated label specifies that the flock has the ability to move about its enclosure, and it has continuous access to food, fresh water, and the outdoors during their production cycle. 

3. Pastured: Also called “pasture-raised,” this term is one that farmers and producers use to indicate that their meat or eggs is from animals that are raised mostly outdoors, without confinement. 

Find out what "biodynamic" means, and more. Read on!

Keywords: Responsible Production & Consumption | Biodynamic | Education | Environment | Responsible Production & Consumption | cage-free | fair trade | food | free-range | grass-fed | green definitions

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