Today many consumers purchase more natural products from food to personal care items, thinking it is the same as organic. But the truth is, there is a big difference in natural and organic.
Labels can be misleading, but you must be an informed consumer and look past all the marketing that captures your attention and know what the terminology means and what the brand is telling you.
You would think you can trust what you read on the label, but should you stop at what you read on a label, or do little further research? I say, do a little more research and be an informed consumer about everything you purchase.
Natural and Organic
Whenever you see natural labeled on anything you purchase from food to personal care products, you may assume that it is organic, but it really isn’t organic. Yes, the product you purchased has natural ingredients, but this does not ensure the product is organic. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t good for you. Just know that natural does not always equal organic.
If you see organic on a label, you still cannot assume that it is 100% organic. Why? Because brands sometimes have the term organic on the label, but make sure you read the label very carefully. The brand can say they have organic ingredients, but the product may not be all organic.
The only way you can be sure that a product is completely organic is when you see the USDA seal of approval, which signifies that the product has passed the USDA certified organic standards. If you do not see label, then you know the product is not completely organic.
Don’t let the terminology of natural and organic fool you. They are not created equal.
Is organic better?
Yes and no.
First let’s look at why organic is better. Organic foods are produced without the use of outside/external products, such as growth hormones and pesticides.
The USDA provides three definitions of organic food.
- Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.
- Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.
- Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.
What You Should Buy Organic
It is especially good to purchase organic varieties of fruits and vegetables that are known to have high pesticide/fungicide levels. But other than that, not everything you eat needs to be organic. You can learn more about those fruits and vegetables that you should consider buying organic from the Environmental Working Group.
It is also expensive to eat 100% organic, at least it is for me. Just know that there is no need for all of your food to be organic, unless you want it to be and can afford it.
When it comes to personal care products, if you want organic personal care products, make sure it has the USDA stamp of approval. Even if you see the USDA label, it doesn’t mean that product will work for you. Sometimes you can have allergic reactions to some of the ingredients in the certified organic product, so be very careful.
Just because it has the USDA label doesn’t mean it is good for you.
In some cases, organic is not always better. This is the case when it comes to junk foods, like cakes, cookies, and other organic snacks. Yes, the USDA label may be on your favorite snack, but that snack may not be the healthiest. Make sure you read the label closely, especially when it comes to the sugar, salt, oil and other ingredients that may not be so healthy for you. Just because it has the USDA label doesn’t mean it is good for you.
Are brands truthful?
I say for the most part that brands are truthful, but it is up to you, the consumer, to read the labels very closely. Don’t assume just because your favorite product says it is organic that it is 100% organic. It might just have a few organic ingredients and that’s it.
A brand is only truly organic when you see the stamp of approval from the USDA. Look past the words natural and see what the brand is saying. This means you must take time to read the label.
Discussion: Do you read labels and do you trust the brand?
Evelyn’s answers: Yes, I read labels and yes, I trust the brands I use (food and personal care).
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