Do You Know the Difference Between 'Natural' and 'Organic'?

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
7 PHOTOS
Do You Know the Difference Between 'Natural' and 'Organic'?
See Gallery
Do You Know the Difference Between 'Natural' and 'Organic'?

A food watchdog investigation reveals how misleading food labels can deceive consumers. Uncover the true meaning behind buzz words like "natural," "organic" and "artisan," and learn how you can shop smart at the grocery store.

Image Credit: Getty Images

"Natural"

The word "natural" carries no standard definition, according to the Food and Drug administration. Consumer Reports Shop Smart even found that snacks and cereal labeled "natural" can still include non-natural ingredients like genetically-modified corn and sugar.

Image Credit: Getty Images

"Cage-Free"

Cage-free eggs are more expensive, but the chickens that produce them aren't necessarily raised in open pastures. Cage-free chickens that are not "pasture-raised" often live in overcrowded houses indoors.

Image Credit: Getty Images

"Artisan"

The use of this word has been growing in popularity recently. While we might think "artisan" products are hand-crafted or produced in small batches, its meaning has been widely interpreted in the food industry.

Image Credit: Getty Images

USDA organic

Here's one term that's actually worth looking for. The label "organic" is a tightly regulated term that indicates foods produced free of synthetic fertilizer and most industrial pesticides.

Image Credit: Getty Images

"Raised without antibiotics"

Meat and poultry products with this label have never been given antibiotics, making this another food label worth seeking.

Image Credit: Getty Images

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Buzz words like "natural," "organic" and "artisan" are found on the labels of many food products, but do they really mean what we think?

Food watchdog group The Center for Science in the Public Interest reveals the decades-long problem of misleading food labels. Consumers may be more inclined to purchase or even pay a premium on products labeled with buzz words, but the use of these words may not be regulated and can often be deceiving.

ABC News reports that many Americans mistake "natural" and "organic" as the same thing, but they are actually very different. The use of the word "organic" is tightly regulated and means that food is free of synthetic fertilizers, while the word "natural" has no standard definition, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Last year, Consumer Reports Shop Smart found that that snacks and cereal labeled "natural" can still contain non-natural ingredients like genetically-modified corn and sugar.

Another misconception is that pricier "cage-free" eggs come from chickens raised in pastures. Unless the eggs are labeled "pasture-raised", those chickens may still be confined indoors in overcrowded houses.

In addition, the word "artisan" is growing in popularity, but it lacks a standard FDA definition and may not necessarily indicate food that is hand-crafted or made in small batches.

Check out the slideshow above to discover what buzz words on you should watch out for on food labels.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Best Bites by AOL and receive delicious recipes delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Search Recipes