How to tell if that ‘organic’ food at the store is really organic

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DENVER — You’ll soon be seeing more foods labeled organic and natural in grocery stores.

Companies are cashing in on the growing demand for products that leave out artificial ingredients, but some products labeled natural may not be that at all.

Darrin Duber-Smith, a marketing professor at Metropolitan State University says when a product is certified organic it must meet tough government standards and, “There’s no pesticides used, no synthetic herbicides used, the cattle or the chickens are fed with organic grains, [and] there’s no sewage sludge used on produce.”

It’s much easier to classify a product as natural.  Duber-Smith says, “Natural is the absence of synthetic ingredients and synthetic processing.”

Many natural products are still manipulated to the point that they lose their purity.  It can be tricky to figure out.

For example, a certified organic egg comes from a chicken that is not caged and is fed certified organic feed, but eggs that are labeled natural cage-free may not receive organic feed.

Duber-Smith says one way to be certain that you are buying the real deal when it comes to shopping for organic products is to look for the USDA Certified Organic seal.

Experts say if you choose to just buy natural products, you aren’t sacrificing your health.

Duber-Smith says, “80-90 percent of those products are going to be very clean and certainly are going to be better than your mainstream products that are chalk full of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.”

Be sure to check labels. Experts say quality natural products usually don’t have things like high fructose corn syrup.

More information:
WebMD organic foods overview
USDA organic certification program

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