There are a lot of marketing buzzwords being used to label food & produce items. As a consumer, it is our responsibility to know what it is we are purchasing, as well as what we are eating. For example, do you know what the terms labeled on produce packaging mean? In order to put this conversation into perspective, let’s use NatureFresh™ Farms TOMZ ™ packaging as an example to learn more about these labels.
The Grower DOES Matter!
When the product is packaged versus sold in bulk, you are able to see who the grower is. In the case of TOMZ™, the grower is and always is NatureFresh™ Farms as TOMZ™ are grown exclusively by NatureFresh™.
Why does this matter? Growers, like NatureFresh™, work really hard to maintain consistent production and to build a solid reputation. When you, as a consumer, are able to see who the grower is of your product that gives you the power to do research to see what the grower is all about, what other products they grow, and how they grow their products. For example, with NatureFresh™, you can visit their website and see how their tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers are grown, where they are grown and other initiatives in which the company is involved.
Look For Country Of Origin
Not only does NatureFresh™ include the country of origin on their packaging, but they also include the state in which they are grown. Why does this matter? For starters, the closer the produce is grown to you, the shorter distance it will have to travel to the grocery store, which allows you to buy fresher produce. All growers, worldwide, are required by law to label where their product is grown as part of the Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) law.
As a greenhouse vegetable grower, NatureFresh™ Farms does grow in a sustainable environment. Some examples of growing sustainably include: growing with a closed-loop irrigation system in their greenhouse operation, growing with coconut fibre as their growing medium, and the use of an Integrated Pest Management system (where beneficial insects are used to remove harmful insects). The NatureFresh™ IPM program is managed by their ‘Bug Brigade’ team!
The term ‘sustainable’ refers to the use of nonrenewable and on-farm resources as efficiently as possible while enhancing the environmental quality and natural resources for agricultural production. Examples include maintaining soil productivity (preventing erosion), protecting the water source (preventing chemicals leaching into the groundwater), etc. While the “sustainable” label has been used as a marketing tool by produce companies, there are no actual government rules or regulations required for them to achieve this label. However, there are some buyers who will require certain audits to determine if their growers are growing “sustainably.”
NatureFresh™ Farms products are non-GMO verified by the Non-GMO Project. Without taking a stance on their position regarding GMOs, they refer to the importance of being transparent with consumers. If you are interested in doing further research, I would encourage you to take a look at the FDA and USDA references listed below.