Labels: Natural Organic

But it says All Natural!

Natural . . . organic . . . sustainable . . . Fair Trade. We see these words on labels for a variety of food selections. But what do they really mean?


  • A product that is listed as natural comes with no guarantees.
  • Neither the FDA nor the USDA regulates products labeled natural.
  • Food manufacturers may place a” natural” label on any type of food.
  • Natural DOES NOT MEAN
    • Organic or
    • minimally processed
  • Natural products may contain
    • hormones
    • antibiotics
    • artificial flavors


If a product is labeled organic, it must meet strict USDA regulations.

  • “Organic” is the most heavily regulated food system
  • No growth hormones or antibiotics are given to animals
  • No toxic synthetic pesticides, toxic synthetic herbicides, or chemical fertilizers are used in growing and production.
  • Organic food producers go through a rigorous certification process and inspections.

That being said, we must all remain vigilant about where our food comes from, what processes and chemicals are used and who regulates the certifications. We must continue to question and scrutinize food companies and the USDA to hold the standards for Organic foods to the levels we are entitled to.


Sustain, the alliance for sustainable food and farming,  defines sustainable food as food that is produced, processed, distributed and disposed of in ways that:

  • Contribute to thriving local economies and sustainable livelihoods,
  • Protect the diversity of both plants and animals and the welfare of farmed and wild species,
  • Avoid damaging or wasting natural resources or contributing to climate change;
  • Provide social benefits, such as good quality food, safe and healthy products, and educational opportunities.

As consumers we can purchase products that are grown sustainably.  More and more companies are striving to become certified sustainable.

Sonoma County Wine Growers are looking forward to becoming the nation’s first 100% sustainable wine region in 2019.

Fair Trade

World Fair Trade Organization describes Fair Trade as “ . . . a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South.”

Fair Trade organizations can be recognized by the WFTO logo.

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