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The Truth About Food Labels: Decoding the Jargon and Finding Genuine Natural Products

Food labels can help you choose healthy foods, but you need to scrutinize food labels to understand the full picture of a product's origins and nutrition. At our natural foods store in Vancouver, you'll encounter many types of food labels. Numerous federal regulations require producers to be truthful about food ingredients. The food label definitions below will prepare you to navigate the sometimes confusing world of food packaging and meet your goals.

Product of Canada

Producers may only apply the phrase "product of Canada" when the food was grown and processed in the country. The label still applies if a tiny portion of the ingredients were imported.


The organic label interests people looking for healthy foods the most. They expect organic to mean that the product was not grown or raised with certain chemicals or genetically-modified organisms (GMO). These consumers both want reduced exposure to pesticides for themselves and the farm land. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) only allows food labels to say "organic" if the product contains at least 95% of organic ingredients. The CFIA oversees organizations that certify organic food producers. A food label claiming "organic certification" must state the name of the certifying organization to be valid.

Natural ingredients

Food producers love to use the word "natural" to appeal to shoppers in search of healthy foods. The term, however, only indicates that the food or certain ingredients underwent minimal processing.

Plant-based or vegan

Many of the customers at our natural foods store value foods made without any animal products. The terms "plant-based" or "vegan" should only appear on products that are 100% plant substances.


If you have concerns about consuming genetically-modified organisms, then this label assures you that the product is free of engineered ingredients. Common GMO ingredients come from commodity crops like soybeans or wheat.


People with sensitivity to the protein gluten look for this label. Producers may put it on foods without gluten. Although this information is important to some consumers, it offers no proof that the food is particularly nutritious.

Find It All at Famous Foods

At Famous Foods, we make organic, natural, and local foods a priority. For great quality and customer service, shop at our natural foods store in Vancouver.

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