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Natural vs. Organic Food [Infographic]

March 22, 2016

Walking down the grocery aisles, it's common to see items labeled "natural" and others labeled "organic" sitting right next to each other. You might shrug it off and assume that the packaging designers simply prefer one word over the other, but the truth is that these two terms signify different things in food production.

The general difference between these two labels is that for an item to be labeled as "organic," its production must follow stricter regulations than for it to be labeled "natural." Before you head to the store next time, make sure you know what you're buying. Check out the facts below and feel free to take a screenshot of the infographic so you always have the information on hand.

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Natural

There are no concrete regulations for food to be labeled “natural,” but production must follow the general guideline that pesticides and antibiotics were not used.

Organic

Some National Organic Program rules and regulations include:

  • Sewage sludge, prohibited pesticides and GMOs were not used.
  • Livestock were not fed antibiotics or growth hormones.
  • Livestock were fed 100% organic feed.
  • Livestock had good health and welfare.
  • Livestock were given outdoor access.

To label food as organic, a farmer who sells more than $5,000 per year must be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or a private certifying agency.

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Rachel Hart

About the Author

Rachel Hart is the User Experience Designer for Digital Services Georgia. On Georgia.gov, she makes government material approachable with writing, infographics, videos, and other imagery.

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