Single-Trait Label Claims Create Consumer Confusion and Misunderstanding of Organics
Petaluma, Calif., December 11, 2017 – A new study from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) examines the flaws in single-trait label claims, noting that no single label meets the comprehensive requirements of the organic label, while lack of clarity around labels such as ‘natural’ and ‘transitional’ cause consumers further confusion.
Organic Dairy Pioneer and Straus Family Creamery Founder Albert Straus, who converted his family’s dairy farm to the country’s first organic dairy farm west of the Mississippi River in 1994, wants people to understand that the organic label still represents the most comprehensive, most transparent and most tightly regulated food certification in the world.
“The organic label is one I stand firmly behind. It is the only third-party certification that I trust to verify the gold standard of care for the environment, agricultural land management, and the humane treatment of farm animals, while also prohibiting GMOs,” said Straus. “The USDA is always trying to evolve its standards, but, as an organic dairy farmer, I know this model represents an integrated sustainable organic farming system. I encourage consumers to take a deeper look at what the organic label signifies when making purchasing decisions.”
Led by Albert Straus, his company Straus Family Creamery became an organic farming advocate and dairy innovator more than 20 years ago when it became the first 100 percent certified organic creamery in the country. To this day, the Northern California trailblazing company stands unequivocally behind the organic label’s integrity in sustainable agriculture and organic food production.
Organic food and beverage sales reached a peak 4.3 billion dollars in 2016, an 8.3 percent increase that confirms organic as the first choice for nearly one-third of U.S. grocery shoppers. Yet, a recent survey reveals that few consumers understand the meaning of the organic label: just 41 percent of survey respondents could correctly answer questions about organics, even when they frequently purchased organic food and beverage products.
The Organic Label, Explained
For Straus Family Creamery, organic agriculture, as practiced on small to mid-size family farms, starts with sustainable land stewardship. Because farming is often not fully understood by the average retail shopper, Straus Family Creamery created an infographic to illustrate how key components of the organic label relate to good farming practices and how this translates to quality products from the farm to your family’s table.
- No toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers: The organic label means no toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, which can be harmful to the soil and the environment.
- No antibiotics or hormones: the overuse of antibiotics is of increasing concern to public health experts. Organic certification means no antibiotics or hormones can ever be used.
- Pasture based farming is good for the animals and the land: Organic production includes the USDA Pasture Rule which states that animals must graze at least 120 days per year and obtain at least 30 percent dry matter intake by grazing. Good pasture management practices also can promote carbon sequestration in the soil, which is a primary tool for reversing climate change.
- Animal welfare standards: humane animal handling practices keep food-producing animals healthy with low stress, respecting natural behaviors and providing good living conditions.
- Prohibits genetically modified organisms (GMOs): consumers have a right to know what’s in their food. The rise in GMO crops has resulted in increased use of pesticides and fertilizers compared to organic farming practices which don’t allow the use of these types of substances. Scientists haven’t been able to adequately study GMOs impact on human, animal and environmental health.
About Straus Family Creamery
Based in Marshall, CA, Straus Family Creamery is a Northern California, certified organic creamery offering milk, cream, yogurt, butter, sour cream, ice cream, and a variety of wholesale and specialty dairy products distributed throughout the Western United States. The Creamery makes minimally-processed dairy products from organic milk supplied by family farms in Marin and Sonoma Counties, including the Straus Dairy Farm, which is the first certified organic dairy farm west of the Mississippi River. Straus Family Creamery, the first 100 percent certified organic creamery in the United States, continues to make business decisions based on its mission to help sustain family farms, revitalize rural communities, and protect the environment. The family-owned business sustains collaborative relationships with the family farms that supply it milk, offering stable prices and predictability in what can otherwise be a volatile marketplace. Learn more at strausfamilycreamery.test, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Director of Communications
Straus Family Creamery
Haven B Media
2 Study ‘The US Organic Agricultural Industry – Consumer Perceptions and behaviors” by Hamilton Place Strategies, May 2017 of 2,400 consumers.