Natural, non-GMO or organic: What’s the difference?




Natural

In the United States, “natural” or “all natural” does NOT mean that the food was produced and processed organically. In fact, FDA has no standards for use of the term “natural.” This is the least regulated and potentially most hype. The 4:25 video below tells the story well.

Non-GMO

Non-GMO” means non-genetically modified. Genetically Modified Organisms are new organisms created in a laboratory using genetic modification/engineering techniques. GMO plants and food derived from them are very controversial. Certified non-GMO means exactly what it says: no GMO ingredients.

It’s still not organic and still permits artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives and flavors.

Organic

In order for a product to become USDA organic certified, the farmer cannot plant GMO seeds, livestock cannot eat plants that have GMO product in them. Farmers must provide evidence showing there were no GMOs used.

Also, no synthetic chemicals, additives, pesticides and fertilizers are allowed.

Just real food. This is the “real deal.”

  • Organic food is the fastest growing sector of the American food industry.
  • Organic food sales grew 17 to 20 percent a year in the early 2000s while sales of conventional food grew only 2 to 3 percent.
  • The US organic market grew 9.5% in 2011, much faster than sales of non-organic food.
  • In 2003 organic products were available in 73% of conventional grocery stores.
  • As of 2003, two thirds of organic milk and cream and half of organic cheese and yogurt are sold through conventional supermarkets.

There are different levels of organic labeling:

  1. ‘100%’ Organic: all ingredients are produced organically.
  2. ‘Organic’: at least 95% of the ingredients are organic.
  3. ‘Made With Organic Ingredients’: contains at least 70% organic ingredients.

Organic livestock:

  • At least 30% feed from pasture grazing during the grazing season, which must be at least 120 days
  • No hormones to promote growth
  • No antibiotics
  • 100% organic feed
  • Not fed animal or poultry byproducts

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