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Office of Sustainability and the Environment
Food Sustainable Food
Understanding Labels
There are many food companies jumping on the sustainable food bandwagon and promoting their products using vague but appealing words like “seasonal” and “natural”. Don’t be tricked - ask questions and buy from farmers and grocers you trust.  Some sustainable food products carry an eco-label. This generally refers to methods of production that reduces negative impacts on the environment, people, animals, and communities, and gives back to these in ways that support a healthy future. It can be challenging to know which eco-labels are credible. 

We recommend the following:  
USDA Organic The U.S. Department of Agriculture has put in place a set of national standards that food labeled "organic" must meet, whether it is grown in the United States or imported from other countries. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides.


California’s “CA Grown” label helps consumers identify foods grown in CA.  


California Certified Organic Farmers - CCOF CCOF promotes and supports organic food and agriculture through a premier organic certification program, trade support, producer and consumer education and political advocacy. California Certified Organic Farmers is a state agency that also certifies organic food producers.

Fair Trade Certified The Fair Trade Certified™ standards aim to ensure that farmers and farm workers in developing nations receive a fair price for their product; have direct trade relations with buyers and access to credit; and encourage sustainable farming methods, without the use of a dozen of the most harmful pesticides, and forced child labor.  FAIR_TRADE_USA
Rainforest Alliance Certified  This ecolabel, as defined by the Rainforest Alliance, is a conservation tool whereby an independent, third party awards a seal of approval guaranteeing consumers that the products they are buying are the result of practices carried out according to a specific set of criteria balancing ecological, economic and so Sustainable Agricultural Network.  RAINFOREST_ALLIANCE_CERTIFIED
Marine Stewardship Council The MSC's fishery certification program and seafood eco-label recognize and reward sustainable fishing. MSC is a global organization working with fisheries, seafood companies, scientists, conservation groups and the public to promote the best environmental choice in seafood.

Seafood for the Future Seafood for the Future is a non-profit seafood advisory and promotional program based at the Aquarium of the Pacific. They are a team of dedicated specialists whose mission is to encourage healthy and responsible seafood choices. By choosing fish that are in healthy supply, we can give dwindling fish populations a chance to recover and keep responsible fishermen working.  Seafood_for_the_Future
Food Alliance Certified Food Alliance is a nonprofit organization that certifies farms, ranches, and food processors and distributors for sustainable agricultural and facility management practices. By choosing Food Alliance Certified products, consumers and commercial food buyers support safe and fair working conditions, humane treatment of animals, and good environmental stewardship.  
Last updated: Thursday, 06/16/2011
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Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment
1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-2213 · TTY (310) 917-6626