COVID-19 Updates: uc.edu/publichealth
Tools & Guides
Food Label Decoder
Certified Organic/USDA Organic/100% Organic
Certified organic products are those which do not use antibiotics, pesticides or synthetic hormones. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture mandates that only products made with 95% or more organic ingredients can use the USDA seal. If the packaging says, "Made with organic ingredients" it means it contains 70% or more organics.
Fair Trade Certified
Fair trade products are those which are made using sustainable practices, paying workers a fair price for their product and investing in local communities through education, health care and sustainable farming practices, etc. Because the coffee, tea and chocolate industries tend to use child labor and unfair wages, these products are becoming increasingly available as Fair Trade Certified.
The USDA states that "the term "natural" may be applied only to products that contain no artificial ingredients, coloring ingredients, or chemical preservatives; and the product and its ingredients are not more than minimally processed." However, few standards exist, so be sure to read the label to make sure the product is not combining natural ingredients with artificial ones.
Raised Without Antibiotics
This label signifies that no antibiotics were used in the production of this product, but the USDA already prohibits use of antibiotics on poultry and pork products. Since the Certified Organic label prohibits both antibiotics and other chemicals, look for that label instead.
Free Range/Cage Free
Animals are allowed to roam pastures or other open landscapes and are not kept confined to cages. Depending on the practices of the farm, this could be an empty claim because no standards exist for how long the animal is allowed to roam free. Research the farm or company to learn more.
Vegetarian products are those which do not include any meat products, but might include dairy, egg, honey or other products derived from animal sources.
Vegan products are those which do not include any ingredients derived from animal sources.
Buy Local Guide
The Central Ohio River Valley Local Food Guides website offers handy pdfs of Local Farmers Markets and Local Farms.
One of the oldest continually operating public market in the U.S., Findlay Market is open Wednesday – Sunday in nearby Over-the-Rhine. Offering everything from locally-grown fruits, vegetables, flowers and fresh fish to cobblers, soul food and handcrafted candles and soaps, this market is bustling on weekends and provides an easy way to get involved in the community and buy local.
Operating June-October on Wednesday evenings from 4:00-7:30pm, the Northside Farmers Market features locally-grown fruits, vegetables and plants (many of them organic), as well as locally-produced foods and household products such as honey, baked goods, jewelry and eggs.