What does 100% Natural, Organic, or Green on an item label signify?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Every other item on the retail shelves seems to have "100% Natural," "Organic," or "Green" on the label. A recent survey by Bearing Point, a management and technology consulting firm, found that 71 percent of U.S. companies market the "environmental friendliness" of their products to customers. But another poll (by Ipsos) found that 70 percent of Americans felt that when a company labels a product as "green," it's usually just a marketing tactic. The bottom line: we need to be smart about picking the real thing. Just because something says it's natural or organic, it is not a guarantee of authenticity.

In a survey conducted by Health Magazine, 83 percent of consumers polled indicated that they prefer to buy all-natural body products, although more than half of them could not define "natural" or "organic." First of all, natural and organic are not synonymous. Often "100% Natural" or "All Natural" is 100 percent bogus. The FDA does not regulate the use of "natural," "botanical," "pure," or "organic," so any company can slap them on any product. This practice is known as greenwashing, or brainwashing consumers into believing products are natural when they actually are not. "Organic" refers to the agricultural method in which the ingredients are farmed without pesticides or chemical fertilizers and utilizing renewable resources to save energy. A product vetted by the USDA as "certified organic" must contain 95 percent organically grown ingredients.

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

Continue Learning about Food Production & Health

Breaking Down Processed Foods
Breaking Down Processed Foods
Years and years ago, food came straight from the ground or from the branch and went directly to the table. That sort of freshness is a little harder t...
Read More
How important is it to consume fortified food products?
Environmental Working Group (EWG)Environmental Working Group (EWG)
Nutrient content claims on fortified food are used as marketing tools. High fortification levels in ...
More Answers
What does the Radura food label mean?
Stefanie Sacks, MSStefanie Sacks, MS
The Radura food label means that the food has been irradiated to prevent certain types of food issue...
More Answers
Why should I avoid processed foods?
Stefanie Sacks, MSStefanie Sacks, MS
Processed foods are not the ideal choice as they typically contain multiple ingredients, many of whi...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.