Organic vs. Natural. Whats the difference

USDA Organic SealWalk down the grocery aisle and you’ll see all sorts of clams, Natural, All Natural, Organic, 100% Organic, and more. So what is the real difference between these. The USDA has very strict requirements on what can be labeled Organic, but the requirements for Natural are minimal. There are actually three levels of Organic which are listed below, then there is a table which lists the difference between Organic and Natural in multiple categories.

Natural vs. Organic

100% Organic

Products containing only organically produced ingredients
Products may display the USDA organic seal


Products consisting of ingredients that are at least 95% organically grown
Products can display the USDA organic seal

Made with Organic

Products consisting of ingredients that are 70 – 95% organically grown
Products cannot display the USDA organic seal


Products produced without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives




Toxic persistent Pesticides allowed Not Allowed Allowed
GMOs Not Allowed Allowed
Antibiotics Not Allowed Allowed
Growth Hormones Not Allowed Allowed
Sludge & Irridation Not Allowed Allowed
Animal Welfare Requirements Yes No
Cows required to be on pasture for pasture season Yes No
Audit trail from farm to table Yes No
Certification Required, including inspections Yes No
Legal restrictions on allowable materials Yes No


So now you know the difference, so the next time you pick up that box that says “All Natural” realize that it is just marketing and really means very little.

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