The grocery store is full of labeled food products, waiting for you to skim the text, purchase and devour. You mustn’t fill your shopping cart with skimmed products. A grocery store snack queen must know what her labels mean!
Food labels are used to inform consumers that the food is what the label says. When it comes to organic and natural, there may be some confusion as to what the labels mean. So, let’s start with the basics.
- The organic label means everything it stands for. No more, no less.
- While the natural label could mean nearly anything. It could be your brother’s sock for all you know (cotton, it’s natural).
The reason for these differences is due to regulations.
You see, once upon a time, your star-spangled kingdom decided to oversee the way food is produced. Certified organic is a regulated production process and assures that the food is organic. Among some other requirements, if a food is made without the following, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awards it the official certified organic label:
- synthetic growth hormones
- petroleum-based fertilizers
- artificial colors and flavors
- artificial preservatives
- irradiated ingredients
- is not genetically modified (GMO)
In other words, you are buying clean and wholesome food each and every time.
Natural products are less fortunate. It is sort of the fire-breathing dragon of our story. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the production of “natural” foods. It’s only generally accepted that if a food doesn’t contain the following, it may be called natural:
- artificial colors,
- flavors, or
- synthetic substances,
The definition of this term is really left up to the producers of food to determine. Not a very merry prospect. On the other hand, the USDA does regulate the production of meat, poultry and eggs; and if these three foodstuffs are made without artificial ingredients or added colors, they will be called natural.
This brings us back to the grocery store. Labels have meanings and you now know what two of them refer to! The big question is whether you should eat organic or natural. Well that is up to you, but I’m pretty sure queens don’t eat their brother’s socks for breakfast.
If you’re not ready to take the leap into eating only organic foods, here are the top 9 foods you should consider eating organic:
- Produce without a peel (Strawberries, Blueberries, Bell Peppers, Celery, Green Beans)
- Leafy Greens (Lettuce, Spinach, Kale)
- Produce grown above ground (Tomatoes, Cucumber, Squash, Apples, Cherries, Peaches)
- Fruit Juice
- Fatty Meats (beef)
Here are some of the fresh produce that typically have lower pesticide residue, regardless of being organic or not:
- Watermelon and Domestic Cantaloupe
- Sweet Corn
- Avocado and Asparagus
- Sweet Potatoes
- Pineapple, Papaya and Mango