Savvy Library

How to Know the Ingredients in Your Food Are Safe

Everyone knows that when it comes to eating well, good food means fresh ingredients. But unless you live on a farm, do you know where your food really comes from? How do you know it’s fresh, or even safe to consume?

Having Faith in the Regulation System

Most people don’t or can’t grow the ingredients for the food they eat themselves. Is this dangerous? Of course not! Given how many people today live in cities, it would be ridiculously impractical to expect everyone to grow their own food.

There is a robust system of third-party regulators ensuring that every stage of the food supply chain has high quality ingredients for your food that takes the burden off your shoulders. Whether you buy food from food suppliers so you can cook it yourself or you eat out at restaurants, there is a reliable system in place to make sure the basic ingredients are safe and high quality.

Growing Food Yourself

If you live in a city you can’t grow everything you eat, but you can actually grow some of it. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to live in a sunny apartment, or you have a deck that gets a lot of sun. It’s very easy to grow different kinds of basic herbs like basil or oregano, and even vegetables or tomatoes.

But it’s possible to grow some of your own ingredients even if you live in a dark, patio-less apartment or condo. There are different home-grow solutions that give the herbs you’re planting the right amount of water and (artificial) light automatically. This food will definitely be safe to eat.

Health Versus Safety

Just because the food comes directly from a farm doesn’t mean it’s healthy. There’s a big difference between healthy food and safe ingredients. A bacon cheeseburger will never be particularly nutritious, but beef, bacon and even the cheese from a local farm can be vouched for in terms of safety.

When this isn’t possible there’s the Safe Quality Food (SQF) standard, which is a globally recognized independent food safety standard implemented by the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI). They assess the industry as a whole and work on multiple levels at once, so whether you’re the person selling the food, the person eating it, or you’re an investor in a company, you can be confident the food is safe.

Food in the Era of Globalization

How do we know that food originating from outside the country is safe to eat? People migrate around the world and bring with them the tastes of their home country, and local foodies in one country want to try out the local food from far away countries—food is truly as globally connected now as our business or media is. But you don’t need to worry about potentially lax standards in other countries. The third-party oversight described above also ensures that Canadians can only eat safe food.

So relax, knowing that when you plan a meal you don’t need to consider the safety level of the basic ingredients in the food you buy, even if you didn’t grow it yourself. Just worry about the level of nutrition and, of course, the taste.


  • Lauryn R

    This is a very informative post, thanks for sharing! I live in Texas where it is hard to grow food myself, I do grow my own herbs in pots though. I grew up in Oregon where my dad grew everything we ate, it always tasted so much better to me! Especially the tomatoes, there is nothing quite like the taste of a homegrown tomato. 🙂

  • Tamra Phelps

    I did feel a little worried when the government shut down and all those EPA food inspectors were not considered necessary. That was nuts.

  • Sally Gearhart

    We just bought a place in the country so that we can grow our own food and i plan on having chickens, cows, goats, ect. It’s definitely going to be a learning experience though! Farmers Markets are a great way to get fresh food and i will still order certain things online too! Great article, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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