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Natural or Organic


organic-labels

Advertising agencies know that how a food is marketed and the perception the public has about certain words can command a bigger profit in the grocery store. Both “natural” and “organic” grab the public’s attention. But the real question is, do either of these words mean that the food is any more nutritious than the foods that do not have either of these labels.

Natural

The term natural can be confusing. Most of us feel that natural means not artificial. But what, exactly, does it mean for our food?

According to USDA, natural can be used on foods that do not contain any artificial flavor or flavoring, coloring ingredient, or chemical preservative AND minimal processing was used to make the food edible or safe for human consumption.

Natural methods of preparing foods include freezing, drying, smoking, roasting, pressing fruits for juices, grinding meat, and separating eggs. Canning could be a natural method only if no chemical preservatives is used in the process. The use of solvent extraction, acid hydrolysis, and chemical bleaching is not considered a natural method.

Prepared foods can be labelled “natural” if an ingredient used is does not significantly change the character of the product. In this case, the label must identify that ingredient. For example, “All natural ingredients except dextrose and modified food starch.

Organic

The government has identified substances that can and cannot be used when raising foods that are organic. Most of us would like to think that organic means natural or non-synthetic, but, it does not. This is how it is stated on the Nation List web page.

“In general, synthetic substances are prohibited for crop and livestock production unless specifically allowed and non-synthetic substances are allowed for crop and livestock production unless specifically prohibited.”

So, exactly what is allowed and what is prohibited? For the complete list, you need to look at the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.

And, to increase confusion, the list is reviewed every five years so some substances that were not prohibited could end up on the prohibited list and, of course, some substances that we thought should not be used, can now be used.

In addition, some of the prohibited substances could be used on certain crops or up to a certain amount.

Even if a product is labeled “organic” it may not be certified as organic. Organic farmers whose sales are less than $5,000 are exempt from certification.

But the bottom line is – is organic food better for you? Yes, if you are concerned about GMOs. But, if your organic fruits and vegetables need to be shipped in, you may be better off by purchasing fresh, natural foods from your local farmer.

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses
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