Label Decoder: What Natural & Organic Means For Your Baby’s Food
Food labels can be really confusing! Sometimes it feels like you need a PhD in food science just to know what you’re actually buying for your baby, whether it’s produce to make homemade, or a prepared food that you can trust. Time to decode two words that are everywhere to find out what they really mean: Natural & Organic.
“Natural”, “All Natural”, and “100% Natural” all mean about the same thing. The FDA doesn’t have any legal definition or standard for using them on a label. Some organizations are working to change this, and a lot of companies already set their own rigorous standards, so it’s important to do your research and find a brand that you trust. If you’re not familiar with a brand, you can look at “All Natural” as an invitation to check out the ingredients list to see if they’re really as minimally processed as they claim.
According to the USDA, certified organic ingredients have to be produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, GMOs or ionizing radiation. When it comes to how we label organic foods, there are four categories:
- 100% Organic: Exactly what it sounds like. 100% organic ingredients.
- Organic: Made with at least 95% organic ingredients. Up to 5% can be ingredients listed as “exempt” by the USDA.
- Made With Organic Ingredients: Made with at least 70% organic ingredients, but the other 30% still have strict restrictions (including no GMOs).
- Anything with less than 70% organic ingredients can list specific organic ingredients on the side or back of the package, but can’t make any organic claims on the front.
So Now What?
Now that you have all this food knowledge, you might want to try making homemade baby food. But for those inevitable times when you can’t make homemade, the best thing to do is always read the front AND the back of the label, so you know exactly what’s inside your baby’s food.
We know how important it is for parents to feel good about what they feed their babies, so Beech-Nut goes the extra mile. We share the percentage of every ingredient inside our Organic & Natural lines, and we make it easy to see how our food is made. We’ve also partnered with the Non-GMO Project, an organization that requires ongoing testing to verify non-GMO status of any products, not just those that are certified organic.