Do “Natural” and “Organic” Mean The Same Thing?

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21st December, 2016

The short answer is no. What's the difference between organic and natural? Isn't "natural food" just as safe and healthy as organic food? Unfortunately, natural does not mean organic and comes with no guarantees.   "Natural foods" are often assumed to be foods that are minimally processed and do not contain any hormones, antibiotics or artificial flavors. In the United States, however, neither the FDA nor the USDA has rules or regulations for products labeled "natural." As a result, food manufacturers often place a "natural" label on foods containing heavily processed ingredients. "Natural" can mean any number of different things, depending on where in the United States you are, who the food manufacturer is, and what store is carrying the product. In fact, the FDA has said it’s alright to call high-fructose corn syrup “natural”.  Although when it comes to meat or poultry, the USDA says “natural” must signify no artificial ingredients and minimal processing. Federal regulations do, however, strictly define the term "organic."  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. Items grown from the earth must be certified by regulatory agencies that perform soil tests. Additionally, soil must have at least 3 years of no pesticide treatment before it can be certified to begin with. Only organic guarantees 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. Organic producers and processors also are subject to rigorous announced - and unannounced - certification inspections by third-party inspectors to ensure that they are producing and processing organic products in a manner you and your family can trust. 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. A note to our customers: When we consider “natural” foods to stock on our shelves, we inspect the ingredients list first.  Then we select the products we feel we would eat ourselves.