Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Green Term(s) of the Week: Organic vs Natural

I wrote a post recently about club stores selling more organic and natural products. It occurred to me that not everyone may know the difference between the two. So today I'm here to explain the difference.

Organic means that the food has been grown without chemical/synthetics/poisonous pesticides and fertilizers. Animals that produce food have been given no antibiotics or growth hormones. The FDA regulates foods that are organic and issues a certification. To get that certification, strict rules must be adhered to. No artificial flavorings or colorings are added to organic foods.

Natural foods are ones that are minimally processed and don't contain any additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors. The fruits and vegetables in all natural food may have been grown using non-organic standards and the animal products may come from non-organic animals.

Example: I have bought natural peanut butter for years. I like just peanuts and salt in my peanut butter. However, since the peanuts have not been grown organically, I may be getting more than just peanuts and salt. The peanuts contain harmful chemicals from pesticides and fertilizers used to grow them. So in my all natural pb, I may have some not so natural stuff.  An organic pb would be free of that not so natural stuff.

Still, it's better than regular peanut butter that may contain high fructose corn syrup, sugar, partially hydrogenated oils, and other stuff that pb just doesn't need.

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