Organic food sales in the U.S. reached almost $17 billion in 2006, a gain of more than 22%, says a recent survey by the Organic Trade Association.
But some producers are less interested in good nutrition than in capitalizing on the American consumer's appetite for all things organic. In hopes of tapping into the growing organic market, some of these companies use misleading labels to lure customers.
Here's a crash course in label reading from Consumer Reports:
What to buy
"100% Organic." Translation: By law, a product with this label has to be made entirely of certified organic ingredients, produced in accordance with federal organic standards, and include no synthetics.
Conclusion: You get what you pay for.
"Organic." Translation: Products bearing this label are required to contain no less than 95% certified organic ingredients. The remaining 5%: Non-organic and synthetic ingredients.
Conclusion: Good and (mostly) good for you.
"Made with Organic Ingredients." Translation: These products contain a 70/30 split of organic ingredients and other non-organic products that have been approved by the USDA.
Conclusion: The good stuff, plus a little extra.
What to avoid"Free-range" or "Free-Roaming." Translation: For many of us, these words evoke images of chickens free to roam the broad expanses at will. Don't be fooled....MORE