Special edition: Organic & Non-GMO

Consumer Reports: 84% of US consumers buy food with organic seal, but some are confused about its meaning

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Consumer Reports: 84% of US consumers buy food with organic seal, but some are confused about its meaning
84% of US consumers buy organic food sometimes, and 45% of them buy it at least once a month, according to a new national survey of 1,016 adults. However, there is a disparity between what they think the organic seal means and what they think it should mean.

For example, the survey​ - conducted in March 2014 by Opinion Research Corporation for Consumer Reports - found that less than half of consumers believed the USDA organic seal on poultry meat or eggs meant that the chickens had a minimum amount of living space, or went outdoors (although both are requirements of the National Organic Program).

When asked if the organic label should​ mean that chickens had more space and got to go outdoors, more than two thirds said yes.

And while a large majority (81%) of consumers thought that the organic seal on fruits and vegetables meant that “no toxic pesticides​” were used [more accurately it means that any fertilizers and pesticides used must be from an approved list in the National Organic Program​], a higher percentage (91%) thought it should​ mean "no toxic pesticides​".

Meanwhile, if organic produce is from a different country, most respondents (84%) said labels should reflect this.

As to what origin labels should look like, two thirds (66%) favored a label that reflected where the produce was grown and​ processed (‘Grown in Mexico, processed in the USA’); 18% thought that the appropriate label in this instance was ‘Product of Mexico’; 13% thought ‘Product of the USA’; and 3% were unsure or had no strong view.

Click HERE​ for the complete survey results.

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