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Questions and Answers

What is the difference between "organic" and "natural"?

The food industry uses the term "natural" to indicate that a food has been minimally processed and is preservative free. "Organic" foods must be grown and processed without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, genetic engineering, growth hormones, irradation and antibiotics, among others.

Does "natural" mean "organic"?

No. Natural and organic are not interchangeable. Other truthful claims, such as free-range, hormone-free, and natural can still appear on food labels. However, don't confuse these terms with "organic." Only food labeled "organic" has been certified as meeting USDA organic standards.


Are organic foods healthier?

The USDA makes no claims that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food. Organic food differs from conventionally produced food in the way it is grown, handled and processed. Organic foods are not necessarily more nutritious, rather organic food are spared the application of potentially harmful long-lasting insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. Keep in mind that many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases.


Is organic processing better for the environment?

Certified organic farming systems rely on ecologically based practices such as cultural and biological pest management and exclusion of all synthetic chemicals, antibiotics and hormones in crop and livestock production. Many organic manufacturing plants utilize renewable energy sources.


What types of foods are available as organic?

Almost all foods today are available as organic, from milk and butter, cereals and soups, ice cream and frozen waffles to meats, eggs and produce.


Why are organic foods more expensive?

Prices do tend to be higher for organic products for these reasons: The organic food supply is limited as compared to demand. Production costs for organic foods are typically higher because of greater labor input, and because farmers don't produce enough of a single product to lower the overall cost. Post-harvest handling of relatively small quantities of organic foods result in higher costs because organic and conventional product must be separated for processing and transportation. Prices of organic food include not only the cost of the food production itself, but also a range of other factors that are not captured in the price of conventional food, such as environmental enhancement and protection and higher standards for animal welfare, among others.


Do organic foods taste better?

Most people often say this after trying organic foods. It's common sense - well balanced soils grow strong, healthy plants that taste great.