What’s the difference between organic and natural?
It seems like everywhere we turn in the grocery store there’s a label screaming “natural” at us. What does “natural” mean? Are natural and organic the same? Are natural foods healthy? What is a GMO?
GMO’s are genetically modified organisms. GMO refers to any living thing that’s had its DNA altered using genetic engineering. This could be a plant, animal (including humans), or bacterium and it’s usually done to introduce a desirable trait into the organism, such as larger fruit or drought resistance.
There are some differences between organic and natural foods. With organic foods: toxic pesticides, irrigation & sludge, growth hormones, GMO’s, & antibiotics are not allowed but with “natural” foods these things are allowed. With organic foods: there are “allowable materials” restrictions, animal welfare requirements, certification & inspection requirements, cows on pasture for pasture season, audit trail from farm to table, & lower levels of environmental pollutions but with “natural” foods none of these restrictions, requirements, & certifications are required legally. Natural and organic are not the same. Natural foods may be a bit healthier than conventional foods, but organic foods win the healthy award here.
I challenge you to compare the list of ingredients between a natural and an organic item at the store to see the difference. There’s often items you can barely pronounce in the natural foods like in turkey bacon (Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite, phosphates) whereas with organic foods you might see things like (turkey & salt) that you can pronounce. In my next article I will share more tips about reading labels.