Food certification: Fruit & Veg

Not too long ago Elea shared with you some of the common symbols seen on clothing and websites to help demystify them. Which got me thinking, just how many symbols are there on food that we all look at and shrug because only the gods know what they mean? There are few & certain terminology that I could name off the cuff but a quick trip round my local supermarket proved there are more. Lots more. So many that I thought I whole post would bore you all silly so today I thought we'd tackle those found on fruit & veg. Hold on to your sun hats folks this is a lot of info to take in - but I encourage you to use this page as a reference & come back whenever you see a symbol you don't know. I've included a link to the relevant websites if you want to do your own research, just click on the symbol.

Quick note - this is from a UK perspective, I have no idea how universal these symbols are.


This is an independent guarantee that a product has been produced according to Fairtrade political standards. What does that mean? Well according to their website they must reach 'social, economic and environmental standards for both companies and the farmers and workers who grow the food we love. For farmers and workers the standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, for companies they include the payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects of the community’s choice.' - so it's all about being ethical and ensuring a fair deal to farmers

rainforest alliance certified

Most commonly associated with coffee but you can find this symbol on a wide range of products. Again this logo can only be used if the standards are met and for Rainforest Alliance the standards require environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Interestingly they use a frog as a frog is what is known as an 'indicator species, meaning that they are a symbol of environmental health, and they are found on every continent except Antarctica'. Who knew?

leaf marque

LEAF or Linking Environment And Farming is an organisation working 'with farmers, the food industry, scientists and consumers to inspire and enable sustainable farming.'  Their certification is a global (!) assurance system that is held by those who meet their rigorous standards of sustainable farming practices. So if you see this you know that it comes from a sustainable farm!

soil association organic standard

The Soil Association is the UK's leading body when it comes to organic certification. All organic food sold in the EU has to meet the EU certification standards (hola BREXIT impact...) but to get the Soil Association certification the product must meet their higher standards too. The Soil Association Standards focus on the animal welfare, environmental and wildlife protection and they are the UK's oldest certification body so really know their stuff.

EU organic certification

Buying organic product with this label on ensures that the product has met strict rules around environment and animal welfare. Not as high as the Soil Association but everything labelled as organic in the EU has to comply with these rules legally. I've linked a really great infographic in the picture that shows exactly what this label means.

eu protected food names

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) & it's partners Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) are a bit of an odd one out on this list. These marks mean that the product you are buying, whether it's a regional speciality or a traditional dish, is guaranteed to be authentic. The best example I can think of is a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie...

red tractor - assured food standard

This is my favourite symbol because, let's be honest, it's the most cheery. The Red Tractor, or the Assured Food Standard, confirms that the food you are buying is the following five things: 1. quality food you can trust - they don't allow things like growth hormones 2. that all food can be traced right back to the original British farms 3. farmers care about their animals 4. farmers care about our countryside and 5. your food has been born, grown, prepared and packed in the UK.


the vegan society

A bit of a left field one here but an important one if you are Vegan and I'm including under fruit & veg for fairly obvious reasons. The Vegan Society trademark provides assurance that that product has gone through strict criteria check to ensure that it is vegan. More info in the link on the picture. 

the vegetarian society

Again, another left field one as this can be found on a range of products including health & beauty ones. Similarly to The Vegan Society to get this trademark products must be checked by The Vegetarian Society to see if it meets it's criteria. More info if you click the pic!

Phew! And that's just fruit & veg... I hope you found that at least a little bit helpful.

Peas, love & cider!



what am I eating this week?

sweetcorn, aubergine, peas, broad beans, lettuce, carrots, spring onions, radish 

All. The. Salad. because it's still so hot! (the key is a good dressing)


FoodCharlotte York