#OrchidsandOnions: Volkswagen ticks all the boxes, Eskom not so much
Food and product label claims such as ‘natural’, ‘organic’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘ethical’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘non-toxic’ are almost completely unregulated. The opportunities for ‘green-washing’ are still rife and you do not want to be trapped into thinking you are making great consumer choices when you are not.
How to read an ingredient label
The first step in becoming an ingredient detective is knowing how to read an ingredient label. As a first rule of thumb, you can divide the ingredient list roughly into thirds. The top third usually contains 90%-95% of the ingredients in your product; the middle third usually contains about 5%-8% of the ingredients, and the bottom third is likely to contain just 1%-3% of the ingredients. That quick analysis gives you a snapshot as to what you are eating, applying to your skin and using around your home.
It also helps to have a basic awareness of the common synthetic ‘nasties’ that some so-called organic products contain.
“Natural ingredients need to stand out on the ingredient list,” says entrepreneur and sustainability innovator, Robyn Smith of Faithful to Nature. “If a product is really as natural as its label claims, then the ingredients should be easily recognisable and listed up high. If they are not, then the warning bells should start to ring.”
There are a few widely used nasty synthetic ingredients in products that are presented as ingredients in ‘healthy’ products. The Faithful to Nature Pocket Guide complies and explains these nasties, empowering you to avoid them, and is available to add to your online order at no additional cost.