In the world of food marketing, labels are all the rage.  The continued success of organic food appears to have taught the food industry that making claims via certain terms will help a product sell.  Whether the claims have any meaning or actual definition is less important than expressing a general sense that the product is healthy-ish.

The long-time biggest offender in this marketing war is the term “Natural”, a word which the agencies that regulate  food labelling consider to be almost completely meaningless.  And yet even people who rationally know this to be true can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy when they see the word on a box of Pop-tarts or a bag of Ranch Doritos.

The latest trend in food-labeling is “Gluten-free”.  While only a small percentage of people are actually allergic to gluten, most Americans eat far too much overprocessed white flour, much of it laced heavily with lots of sugar or corn syrup.  For many if not most of these folks, the real risk of eating lots of white bread, donuts, etc. is not Celiacs disease but Type 2 diabetes.  Still, in theory, cutting out gluten from their diets could mean lowering their risk of diabetes.

Sadly, food manufacturers are following the profitable model they established with their “Low-Fat” products, substituting ingredients for wheat that are no healthier — and possibly less so.  There’s the ever-popular Sugar of course.  But let’s not forget Corn products, which are conveniently available at low prices.  Almost all non-organic corn and corn syrup are GMOs, but there’s no requirement to put that information on the label!  Some people believe that GMOs cause digestive problems very similar to those allegedly caused by gluten.

I’m not a wheat grower and I have no stake in this issue.  But I think it’s relevant to mention that there is no GMO wheat grown anywhere in the world (yet).  If you are concerned about eating both GMOs and gluten, you should select gluten-free products that are certified organic.    The “Certified Organic” label  might not guarantee that a product is healthy  — especially if it is loaded with organic sugar, organic oil, and organic white flour.  But it is currently the only label that  is legally defined as excluding GMO ingredients.  By definition, “Organic” = “GMO Free”.

There is simpler way to cut down on the gluten in your diet:  eating more fruits and vegetables.  And since Terra Firma Farm does not grow wheat, barley or rye on our farm, our products are, by definition, 100% Gluten-Free.  For twenty years and counting.  But we won’t insult your intelligence by plastering the term all over your 100% natural (not “Natural”) and certified organic fruits and veggies.