Organic or Natural?

Sometimes it's confusing to know the difference between something labeled as "organic" and something else labeled "natural". The certification of organic varies from country to country, but involves a set of standards for those growing, storing, processing, packaging and shipping food products. This includes everyone from the seed suppliers, farmers, processors, retailers and restaurants. Here are some of the general rules for something labeled organic.

Synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics and food additives, and also genetically modified organisms are avoided. The farmland where the food is grown needs to be chemical free for at least three years. Accurate records need to be kept including production and sales numbers.

There needs to be a strict separation between certified and non-certified products in order to avoid contamination. The premises need to be inspected periodically to ensure these regulations are followed. Even when these rules are followed, there are differences in the levels of organic products.

Something labeled as 100% organic means that all products used were made from ingredients certified to be 100% chemical free. An organic label means the products are 95% free of chemicals.  If it says made with organic ingredients, the product must contain a minimum of 70% chemical free ingredients.

There may be some chemical free ingredients specified in the ingredient list, but it can't be considered "certified" unless it meets the above criteria. Non-certified and certified food producers both adhere to the same agricultural standards for food safety and other governmental regulations.  Obtaining the specialized certified label requires extra precaution to ensure consumers are getting what they expect.

Natural ingredients are those that have not been processed with chemicals and synthetics since leaving the farm. This means the farmer could have used chemical fertilizers and pesticides while the food was growing, but that no additional chemicals were added later. Thus, natural candle and soap making implies that no additional chemicals are added to the original products used in creating the candle or soap.

The word natural is overused, along with unrefined, pure, wholesome, and authentic. This can make it difficult to sift through the labels to find the truth. Natural candle and soap making can vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Knowing the difference between the certifications used on different labels can help us better understand what we are buying. Although it can be confusing, it is well worth the time it takes to read the labels a little closer. This can give you peace of mind when candle or soap making that you are really getting what you want.

Back to blog