Label Decoder: What Natural & Organic Means for your Baby's Food
You know you want the best food for your baby. As a mom or dad, when you are looking at the baby food labels, you look for key words. You might look at ingredients so your child can get a variety of foods, but parents also look for words like “natural” and “organic”. But what do these food labels mean? What is the "science" behind them? They can be more misleading than you think!
It's important to remember that there is NO regulatory standard for what the label words “natural”, “all natural”, “made from natural ingredients”, and the like really mean! The implication is that the foods in the product are made from things that can be found in nature. But that’s not always the case. Here are some ways the natural label gets twisted.
- A component may be found in nature but is now lab produced (xanthan gum, citric acid)
- A component may have been natural but is now a GMO product.
- A component may be natural but treated with pesticides or other farming chemicals.
- A component may be natural, but enhanced with artificial colors or flavors.
Unfortunately, there are no guidelines for what "natural" baby food means. Take the "natural" claim as more of a marketing term rather than a fact.
Organic, on the other hand, does have strict meanings. In fact, there are several labels with the word organic that have specific meanings.
100% organic - Every ingredient is organic, will display the USDA Organic Seal on the front.
Organic - These products contain at least 95 - 99% organic ingredients. The remaining ingredients may not be available organically but have been approved by the NOP (Organic Certification Regulation). These products may also display the USDA organic seal.
Made with Organic Ingredients - Less than 70% of the ingredients are organic. The organic ingredients can only be listed on the informational panel of the packaging but can not bear the USDA Organic seal.
Organic food is much more than just food grown without pesticides. There is a whole range of restrictions so that you get food that is genuinely the most naturally-grown food possible. Conscientious manufacturers do what they can to preserve the best quality ingredients in their final products.
So, if you’re looking for healthy and natural food for your baby or toddler and it’s not something obvious like apple slices, skip the natural label completely. Look for organic labels instead that have the USDA certification on the front. When possible, we recommend feeding your baby organic so your little one can have a healthy start.
At Amara , all of our ingredients are certified organic and non gmo. We use the best quality ingredients and just take out the water so you don’t have to worry about refrigeration. Simple! Whether it’s homemade organic baby food or Amara, we want to make sure you are feeding the best for your little one.