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
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
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.