Natural vs. Organic: The Truth

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Ever wonder what the difference was between natural and organic? Us too. Here’s a quick breakdown so they next time you walk down the grocery aisle you’ll know what you’re really looking at…

Natural:According to the Food and Drug Administration(FDA), “Natural” labeled products contain only natural flavors, sweeteners, or other plant-derived substances. Foods that contain highly processed high fructose corn syrup can be labeled natural because the synthetic materials that generate corn syrup are not mixed with the final product. This label is followed with minimal rules or regulations from both the FDA and USDA. In turn, ‘natural’ foods can also contain heavily processed ingredients. Foods containing genetically engineered ingredients can also be labeled “natural.”

Unlike the FDA, the United States Department of Agriculture does regulate the use of the world “natural” when it comes to meat, poultry, and egg products. Natural is only approved if the product contains no artificial ingredient, added color, and minimal processing. It’s important to know that this does not include hormones or antibiotics, as these are separate labels.

Organic: Though the term “natural” has a relatively loose basis, “organic” food has very clear regulations. The National Organic Program, run by the USDA, certifies that the products are made with at least 95% organic content. Organic content includes avoiding usage of harmful farming methods such as synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering. The goal is to “foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.”

Additional Organic labels include:

  • “100% Organic” – Requires that all ingredients to be organic.
  • “Made with Organic___” – May be used to label things with at least 70% organically produced ingredients.
  • Organic Ingredients – Can be listed in the ingredient statement products that have less than 70% organic content.

Whether this information helps you make purchasing decisions in the future or just gives you a peace of mind, shopping the at the grocery will now be more “natural” than ever before!

 

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