Healthy Living on January 7, 2011 by

Demystifying Label Terms: Natural and Organic

If you receive our newsletter, this information may be redundant, but we got very positive feedback about our newsletter for January 2011 and I thought I would go ahead and share the same information here. If you are not familiar with our e-newsletter and would like to receive articles and announcements of which product are on special each month, please visit here and sign up.

With the start of a new year, we often find ourselves reevaluating our lives and trying to make improvements. For most of us, that usually involves some commitment to eating better/healthier/cleaner. To help you navigate all of your options, I’ve put together some definitions for the common terms you’ll encounter on food labels. To get us started, let’s start with the most common and often most confusing terms- Natural and Organic.  In subsequent posts, I will define Whole Grain, Gluten Free and Kosher.

This logo for the National Organic Program is an easy way to spot organic products.

Natural: Probably the most common and most misunderstood term on labels today. What does it really mean? Absolutely nothing; there are no regulations regarding the use of the term “natural” and can be applied to any product. At Bob’s Red Mill, we use the term natural to describe our use of quality ingredients in their most natural state with minimal processing. Be careful when the product seems too good to be true, it very easily could be. If you are skeptical that the brand of dish soap you are using is really “natural,” it is worth the extra time to investigate. Most companies who are using the term “natural” truthfully will have a good explanation about their processes and ingredients on their website.

Organic: Unlike the term “natural”, “organic” is highly regulated and strictly enforced by a governing agency. The National Organic Program follows the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 to ensure “site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” If you see the term “Organic” you can be sure that the products have been inspected to meet the requirements of the act. This term has no relation to whether the product is nutritionally sound or not.


A few generations are so far removed from food – great to see this mass movement towards healthier and more sustainable foods. I think your products are awesome

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