Sunday, January 18, 2015

Difference between organic and all natural?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Amazingly, many Americans believe “all natural” is better than “organic.”  It is crazy what marketing and advertising can do to change people’s understanding of reality!

“All natural” is not regulated at all in the United States.  “All natural” usually means that there were no chemicals added to the food after it was grown.  “All natural” foods are grown conventionally with toxic herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers.  Herbicides and pesticides remain on and in the fruits and vegetables to varying degrees.

"Natural foods" are often assumed to be foods that are minimally processed and do not contain hormones, antibiotics or artificial flavors. In the United States, however, neither the FDA nor the USDA has rules or regulations for products labeled "natural."   Food companies often place a "natural" label on foods containing heavily processed ingredients and GMO’s like high fructose corn syrup.  

“All natural”  has no regulated definition so what you are getting will vary by the region of the country, the brand and store you are buying it from.  Unfortunately, natural does not mean organic and comes with no guarantees.

Organic on the other hand is the most heavily regulated food production and manufacturing system.  Organic has very strict and detailed regulations outlined by the USDA.  Only organic guarantees that no toxic synthetic pesticides, toxic synthetic herbicides, or chemical NPK fertilizers are used in production, and no antibiotics or growth hormones are given to animals.  Meat, seafood and poultry labelled as organic are also fed an all organic diet, too.

Organic requires detailed record keeping, announced and unannounced on site inspections to insure that they are producing and processing organic products in a manner you and your family can trust.  In order to put the USDA organic label, the producer must be certified and re-certified annually.  For more details on organic, visit the USDA web page:  USDA

Here is chart from Stoneyfield that shows key differences:

When you see “organic” on the label, you know that food was made with a set of farming and production practices defined and regulated, in great detail, by the USDA.  While “natural” assures you of little, “organic” tells you you’re buying food made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics, artificial growth hormones, sewage sludge or irradiation.  Being grown and raised the way nature intended.

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