October 27, 2015

Organic Vs Natural

Have you ever been in the grocery store looking at produce and realize the word"organic" is everywhere? Organic, Organic, Organic. I'm almost positive you hear and see that word several times a week at least. It tends to get thrown around a lot but still, many people are not clear on what exactly this means.

The government defines "organic" as the following,

Organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics.

It took the government many years to come to an actually definition for organic but now it is pretty highly regulated. Basically, Farmers cannot grown organic produce is soil that has seen synthetic methods within the last 3 years. Also, when dealing with animals, they cannot use growth hormones on them or antibiotics. However, there is some downfall. 

Being organic does not mean completely pesticide free unfortunately, Farmers can use pesticides derived from natural sources and the word "synthetic" is also another misleading term because they can use some synthetic materials; like animal vaccines. AND there is a HUGE difference between "Organic" and "USDA Organic".  With USDA Organic label, a farmer has to go through an even more strict expensive process to receive that government seal on their products. 

Not only is every produce labeled organic low-key expensive, they also tend to be somewhat smaller in size. Seriously, my obsession with Honeycrisp apples is kinda insane because they are super expensive but they are HUGE so you get a lot of apple per buck. Except with organic, the apple was nearly half the size they usually are. I wanted to ask the manager did they keep the rest of the apple in the back. I'm not playing. Seriously, the sticker shock and size of organic products can take a big getting use too.

Also in the grocery store, you see the word "Natural" just as often as you see organic, especially on packaged foods. When you see the word "natural" on a produce, your almost instantly thinking, well this must be good for me, its made with natural ingredients and all that good stuff. That could be true, also, it can also be not true. Unless your familiar with reading the ingredient list on a produce, you honestly have no idea what can be hidden in your food. The government defines "natural" as the following,


Yeaaahhh, about that.... the word actually does not have a legal definition. I wish I was kidding but there is not government regulation of the word natural. The only guidance is that the produce cannot contain anything artificial or synthetic.

The frustration comes in when you realize they can add this word to just about anything on the shelf. There have been well over 50 lawsuits against food companies who have used this word on a product. For example, General Mills was sued over putting "100 % natural" on its Nature Valley granola bars that contained high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin(a food additive). Kashi, Kix cereals and Frito-Lay have all been under a scrutiny  for their use of the "all natural" labels and GMOs on their products.

Good News is that the government is finally taking notice and hopefully in the future we will have just as strict regulation on the label "natural" as they are with the label "organic".


  1. This is a great blog. Thanks for breaking it down. It's the latest confusion of Low Fat, Fat Free, and No Trans Fat. So many misconceptions.

    1. Omg! So many misleading words are being thrown around right now with food products. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great post. So many people think it's just a label. The breakdown will really clear up some confusion.

    1. Thank you! Hopefully so! I just feel people need to know what they are dealing with as far as food labels are concerned!

  3. Great post. So many people think it's just a label. The breakdown will really clear up some confusion.