Last week my friend asks me about what’s the difference between natural or organic. He saw on the packets of chips, muesli bars, chocolates that there has written either 100%natural or organic. So, many people are still confused that there are no foods and that both are same thing. So, I’m trying to explain a lit bit about their actual meaning. Hope you will understand what they mean?
Do ‘Organic’ and ‘Natural’ food mean same thing???
People often confuse the meaning of Organic vs Natural labels. Sometimes people think they both mean the same thing, or simply don’t know what either one truly means. However, if you investigate the matter more closely, natural and organic have some stark differences. Organic food products are grown and harvested only by using natural fertilizers. Organic food harvest abides by stringent standards of production handling and processing of the food. No chemicals or artificial means are used for growing organic food. However, there are no stringent standards for harvesting natural food.
Although organic foods are grown using minimal or no synthetics, they maintain the health and taste of the food. Due to its stringent standards of production, organic food is priced much higher than its natural counterpart. Organic foods are a great source of ingredients for Ayurveda / Herbal medicines. In the United States, however, neither the FDA nor the USDA has rules or regulations for products labelled “natural.” As a result, food manufacturers often place a “natural” label on foods containing heavily processed ingredients. 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. You can Learn more about in depth on USDA certified organic label and read on for more about the difference between organic, natural and conventional products.
How to read the Organic and Natural label
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed four categories of organic labels, based on the percentage of organic content in a product.
- 100 Percent Organic: Products produced using exclusively organic methods, containing only organic ingredients, can carry a label declaring “100 percent organic.”
- Organic: Products containing at least 95% organic ingredients may use the USDA Organic label.
- Made with organic: Products with 70% to 95% organic ingredients may display “Made with organic [with up to three specific organic ingredients]” on the front panel.
- Ingredient Panel: Products with less than 70% organic ingredients can only list the organic items on the ingredient panel.
The label “all natural” or “100% natural” can be found on diverse food products ranging from peanut butter and cereal to “all natural” sodas, and may recall images of wholesome, minimally processed foods. Without a formal definition of what “natural” means it is often confusing what the label says. For instances foods containing natural flavors, sweeteners, or other plant-derived substances can be labelled natural. In addition, foods containing highly processed high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can also be labelled “natural”, since the synthetic materials used to generate HFCS are not incorporated into the final product. A broadly accepted definition for Natural foods is “a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed”.
The image below is curtsey of USDA (United State Department of Agriculture). Worldwide we have a clear indication of what is organic means. When it comes to Natural it is not clearly defined.
“Why do some people prefer organic food and some people prefer natural food?”
Because some people belief that synthesizing or growing foods by altering their nature results in some level of loss of its nutrients and beneficial properties. Therefore, they demand natural foods for living a healthy lifestyle. Organic food fans, on the other hand, want their food to be free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and preservatives, so they choose organic and grow organic.