Product Standards: What They Are & Why They Matter
We have a lot of cross-over these days between food and “food”. Plenty of things that were unknown and entirely unrecognizable even 20 years ago are abundant on the grocery store shelves, and the packing and labels will make you feel like it’s the most delicious and amazing thing in the world. But what the package may not tell you (and isn’t even required to tell you) is what it actually IS, where is came from and how it was manufactured. These are extremely important steps in food processing and hold even more important potential health risks to you and your family. We have developed this unfounded trust in the FDA and even the government to protect us and make the best nutrition decisions for us which, unfortunately, have really failed us time and time again and are not based on actual health needs, but on product sales and political agendas.
This is why small and local food stores have developed their own product standards which dictate what they will and will not accept to sell to the general public. They realize that we cannot depend on the FDA or the government to set legislation that is not biased or driven by big food corp or political agendas. By setting their own product standards, they are personally committed to researching appropriate food standards, nutritional excellence and sustainable, fair product sourcing. What this means for the consumer is that when you purchase something from a local or small grocery store like Ellwood Thompsons, a team of people committed to brining you the best food possible have sat down, searched for that product (usually locally), put it through a rigorous test of accountability, sustainability and affordability and brought it to you, with their name behind it. This might seem like an unnecessary step to may people, so let me explain why it isn’t.
The United States has some of the lowest food standards in the world and also the highest rate of disease and cancers, with over 15% of our GDP every single year devoted to health “care” costs. Ask any other country, and this would be totally and completely unacceptable, and ask the average American and they would probably have no clue that was even an issue. Until the medical community and the population as a whole can begin to accept that the food we eat has profound affects on our physiology, and on health and wellness as a whole, the big food corps will not have pressure to make positive changes. Of course, every single person can make a difference, and I believe our voice is how we spend our money. When entire stores (no matter how small) decide to ban the sale GMO’s, inhumane animal products and chemically treated produce, that’s a pretty big voice. When 10 stores choose to do that, it’s even bigger, and when you shop and support stores that carry through with this mission, it develops power that can change current food policy.
Honestly, I think Robyn O’Brien, a former food industry analyst, said it best in her TED talk in 2011, find out more here.
But not only are product standards food specific, everything that comes onto a counter or shelf has global roots. Someone, somewhere, had to grow/make that, package that, test that and deliver the goods to be so easily accessible by you. All of those steps require energy and man power. So, my favorite of Ellwood’s product standards (or any store with a similar standard is this,
“Environmental Impact: We love our planet – it’s the only one we have. We recycle, use solar energy, compost, reward customers who walk to our store (or bike) and donate food waste. We support sustainable agriculture and work to reduce the impact from modern day lifestyles on the world we share with other species. We want to preserve it for the next generation.”
You and I can know that even though we’re shopping locally, we’re having a positive global impact.
You can find all of Ellwood’s product standards here.
One of my personal philosophies is to always think “7 generations ahead”. How are my decisions going to impact the next generation and subsequent ones after that? It’s not just about my own actions, but how I spend my money and whom I choose to support. Product standards matter because it makes you part of a positive cycle that sows the seeds of good intentions. We don’t have to wait for legislation or for someone to make us do anything. We have the power, and our own community is there to share it with us!
Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN | HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com