Natural: What's in a Name?
The USDA’s verifiable standards have been a boon to organic food sales, setting it apart from more nebulous labels like “natural.” Food manufacturers “can slap the [natural] label on anything, but it doesn’t really mean anything,” said retail consultant Jay Jacobowitz. “Organic has standards.”
While it may mean zilch to some retailers, others take it seriously.
“Natural standards still exist [here] because we’ve defined it in our stores,” said Phillip Nabors, owner of Mustard Seed Market & Café. “We read every label of every product that we buy.”
In a world of colorful seals and acronym-laden labels, here’s what each means for organic standards:
• 100% organic: No synthetic ingredients and can legally use the USDA organic seal.
• Organic: A minimum of 95% organic ingredients and is eligible to use the USDA organic seal.
• Made with Organic Ingredients: Contains at least 70% organic ingredients. It’s not eligible for the USDA seal.
• “Organic” label on meat, eggs, poultry and dairy: Must come from animals that have never received antibiotics or growth hormones.
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