Guide to Food Certifications

Guide to Food Certifications

Food labels can be confusing and overwhelming, especially when the majority of food that lines grocery store shelves is greenwashed with non-transparent marketing labels and loaded with processed and unpronounceable ingredients. Although we’re grateful that diet culture has (mostly) moved past the calorie counting phase, we still encourage reading labels and knowing what you’re putting in your body.

Our approach to food is one of sovereignty; we believe it is a human right to have access to clean food, as nature intended. By understanding the labels in your pantry, you are making an empowering decision to feed and nourish yourself and your loved ones. 

To us, less is more, and the closer we get to the land, the ocean, and the soil — the better. We put together a resourceful guide with key certifications to look for when purchasing food.

Organic vs. Non-GMO

All organic foods are inherently free from GMOs. However, this statement is not true the other way around; just because something is free from GMOs does not necessarily make it organic.

When in doubt, stick to the certified organic label — this ensures strict standards related to pesticide, fertilizer, hormone use, soil quality, and animal raising practices (according to the rules defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program for certification).

Harmful Herbicides

Packaged food companies can also market themselves as healthy, but their non-gmo ingredients can still contain foods grown with harmful herbicides like glyphosate. Items like non-organic nuts, seeds, grains, oats, and flours typically contain glyphosate. For this reason, sticking to organic and biodynamic foods is crucial. A recent study found that people who ate an all-organic diet for six days reduced the amount of glyphosate in their bodies by 70%.The Detox Project created a certification process that verifies products to be free from glyphosate contamination. The process uses a third-party laboratory to test manufacturers’ and farm suppliers’ products to ensure items do not contain glyphosate.To learn more about the harmful effects of glyphosate, tune into this episode of THE FULLEST Podcast with Dr. Stephanie Seneff, who uncovers some serious science and research on glyphosate.

A Slippery Slope: Poultry Labels

Pasture raised, certified humane, cage free, free range, the list goes on. Poultry labels and egg cartons can be complex. Here is the breakdown…Eggs: Unfortunately, there are no set requirements or definitions for egg labels. This means egg producers can put any phrasing they want on their cartons (FYI, eggs labeled “natural” means nothing! By definition, an egg is a natural food product!) Don’t be fooled by the fancy terms and learn these labels so you know the best eggs to pick at the store:

  • Pasture Raised: These hens are required to hunt, peck, and graze for a natural diet; these eggs are more nutrient dense and have tighter regulatory standards.
  • Free Range: Although these hens do not live in cages, there is minimal access to the outdoors, and they often live in crowded conditions; there are no regulations for antibiotics or feed.
  • Cage Free: These hens do not live in cages, but there is no outdoor access; there are no regulations for antibiotics or feed.
  • Cage Raised: These hens live in cages full-time and are usually fed GMO grains; there are no regulations for antibiotics or feed.
  • All in all, pasture raised eggs are the best choice (preferably from a local farm)!

Animal Protein

Don’t cut corners when it comes to high-quality animal protein! Always opt for wild meats; of course this isn’t always an option, so when you aren’t eating wild, look for these certifications:


  • Free-range
  • USDA certified organic (with certified organic feed)
  • Global Animal Partnership (GAP 3) certified
  • Never given antibiotics or added hormones


    • Free-range
    • USDA certified organic (with certified organic feed)
    • All-natural, young turkey
    • Never given antibiotics or added hormones
    • No preservatives
    • Hatched, raised, and harvested in the USA

      Beef & Bison:

      • 100% grass-fed and grass-finished
      • USDA certified organic (with certified organic feed)
      • Humanely raised
      • Never given antibiotics or added hormones


        • Raised crate-free
        • USDA certified organic (with certified organic feed)
        • Humanely raised
        • Vegetarian feed
        • Never given antibiotics or added hormones


          • Wild-caught (if tuna, always opt for pole caught)
          • Sustainably harvested
          • No artificial coloring
          • No additives

            If you can’t source or afford the above, we suggest choosing the leanest cuts you can find. Pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones are stored in animal fat, so when you purchase the leaner cut, you automatically reduce chemical exposure. Additionally, stray away from consuming the skin!

            Less is More

            Bookmark this resource for guidance on your next grocery store mission. Remember that less is more, local is better, and when in doubt, look for the certified organic stamp!

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