READING PRODUCT LABELS:  BE IN THE KNOW

READING PRODUCT LABELS: BE IN THE KNOW

If you are like me, which I know many of you are, staying healthy is important to you.  We want to make sure what we put in (or on) our body is truly good for us, and that translates into spending an extra few moments reading a label before we put products in our shopping carts.  Unfortunately, label confusion has been a resulting biproduct as brands have jumped on the “I have the best product in the world” bandwagon.  Buzzwords-like natural, clean, real, organic, non-this, extra-that, and so on, are used extensively, but what do they really mean?  Let’s clear the clean air naturally in an ethical and sustainable way: 

Natural Products: The term "natural" on product labels is less regulated and standardized compared to other label claims. While it implies that the product contains natural ingredients and may be free from synthetic additives or preservatives, there is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a "natural" product. Consequently, the use of the term "natural" can be subjective and open to interpretation by manufacturers and consumers alike. Some products labeled as "natural" may still contain synthetic ingredients or undergo processing methods that may not align with consumer expectations of naturalness. Unlike organic certifications, the term "natural" does not guarantee adherence to specific production standards or farming practices. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there isn’t a formal definition for the use of the term “natural” on food labeling. The FDA has also not yet evaluated using the term “natural” alongside any nutritional standard.  Be careful with this one folks!

Clean Products:  Any claims of a product being “clean” must also be viewed with much caution. This is another term without a formal definition and tends to have an always evolving meaning.  Since there isn’t any regulation around using “clean label” by the FDA, it is open to interpretation. This can then mean a variety of things to different people: a lack of artificial coloring, unprocessed food, few total ingredients on the nutrition label, an ingredient list of recognizable items or even being healthy. “Clean” listed on its own shouldn’t be assumed to definitively mean that the products are non-GMO, free of exposure to pesticides or certified organic without regulated seals or verifications to confirm that this is true.  Once again, be careful with this one too.

Organic Products: Organic items that are labeled organic are done so through a certification process, only awarded to products and producers that meet specific standards set by regulatory bodies or certifying agencies. These standards include requirements related to farming practices, such as the avoidance of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, herbicides, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as well as guidelines for soil health, biodiversity conservation, and animal welfare.  The USDA certified organic seal is the gold standard in labeling.  When you see a product labeled as "organic" with a certification logo, it means that it has been independently verified to meet the specified organic standards by an accredited certifying agency.  Be sure to look for the details of that third party agency that completed the certification process on the label.  If you don’t see proof of that agency on the label, not a problem. It would be a good idea to complete a quick search on the USDA Organic Integrity Database (https://organic.ams.usda.gov/integrity).  There, you will be able to find if the product you are looking at is certified organic.

The conclusion – it is good to be educated, especially when it comes to reading labels.  Organic certifications indicate that a product meets established standards for organic farming, raw materials or ingredients, and production practices.  On the other hand, loose terms like “clean” and “natural” on product labels may imply the presence of natural ingredients or exclusion of something bad, but the reality is that

they lack standardized regulatory oversight. Consumers interested in purchasing healthy, natural and clean organic products should look for certifications from reputable certifying agencies to ensure that the products meet specific organic standards. That is why when it comes to your skin health, look no further than Sweet Bee Naturals and our Sweet Bee Magic line of products.  We are in fact certified as an organic product under the rigorous rules of the NOP (National Organic Program) and audited by the CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) a nationally recognized third-party certifying agency.  

Come visit our website to find out more about our amazing certified organic products.