How to Know If Your Product Truly is Organic

Today we see the words “all natural” and “organic” thrown around quite liberally. Most countries have their own rules and regulations as to what constitutes a natural or organic product, but in general there are commonalities that most countries find acceptable.

Sadly, most people aren’t aware or even armed with the proper knowledge to determine if something truly is all natural or not. In fact, for years many soft drink companies were using high fructose corn syrup to sweeten their beverages instead of sugar. Today you will see a few companies boasting that they use “real sugar”, because it is a natural product. This is just one example of how companies love to trick consumers.

So what is the difference between an organic product and a natural one? Here are a few examples:

For organic food, the pesticides used should not be toxic, the farmers don’t harm the soil or wildlife when growing the product, and the seeds aren’t modified in any way. While there are other criteria such as soil testing and soil erosion, the examples above are the most generally accepted in many countries.

If you have ever shopped at a well known organic food store such as “Whole Foods” or similar counterparts, you will discover that many of the foods have been certified organic. Depending on what state you live in, the criteria can be very stringent or more relaxed. However, I wouldn’t recommend buying a product that claims to be organic unless it is certified.

Natural products don’t follow such stringent guidelines as organic foods, but in general are healthier alternatives to regular processed foods. Most natural foods do not contain artificial preservatives or additives and don’t receive any antibiotics or growth hormones.

Health food stores that sell all natural foods like GNC will generally test their products to make sure they follow very strict processing guidelines. However, be wary of foods on your local grocery shelves that claim to be all natural. There are numerous ways for these companies to get around the guidelines for slapping an “all natural” label on their foods.

In general, it is best to buy only organic food, but because of the expense, it is not always practical. In the end the only real way to protect yourself is through self-education and being diligent about reading product labels.