Common Food Labels

Decoding the Label Lingo

When shopping, you may come across some labels on the packaging.

Here are a few of those terms, and what they mean.

Definitions of Common Food Labels

  • Animal Welfare Approved

    This seal certifies that animals were raised humanely and outdoors on pasture or ranges at family farms, with the most stringent humane animal welfare standards.

  • Kosher

    This term may be used only on meat products that have been prepared under rabbinical supervision.

  • Natural

    A label with this word on it means the product contains no artificial ingredients or added color and was minimally processed. There must be a statement explaining what the term natural means (i.e. no artificial ingredients; minimally processed).

  • Organic

    This label means the item was grown without pesticides, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. The animal was not given any antibiotics or growth hormones during its life.

  • Non-GMO

    The Non-GMO Project Verified Seal shows that a product was made according to consensus-based best practices for GMO avoidamce.

Click to See Our Sources

“Food Labeling: Meat and Poultry . . .” United States Department of Agriculture,, 4/12/11

“Welcome to Animal Welfare Approved,”, 2012

“What Does ‘Organic’ Mean?”

"What does “Non-GMO Project Verified seal” mean?" The Non-GMO Project,, 2014.