How To Tell The Difference Between Natural and Organic

John Shaw is the  Executive Director and CEO of the Natural Products Association (NPA) He shares some distinctions with natural product retailers that  I thought might interest you. I’m sure  many of us didn’t know there were things we needed to know about our purchase decisions. Especially when it comes to food labeling issues. Thanks to Vitamin Retailer for the article.  Check it out.

Natural vs. Organic: How to Tell the Difference

Many consumers want the best products and are willing to pay extra for natural or organic products. But what are natural products or organic products? And how do we know what we’re paying for is the real deal? Unless you know what to look for, you could just be paying for some fancy marketing.

First, there isn’t a legal definition of “natural,” so companies are left to define it for their products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says natural is defined differently for each product category, so therefore it has left it undefined. Because of this, the Natural Products Association (NPA), with a group of industry stakeholders, has defined natural in the marketplace.

NPA’s definition requires products b:

  • made from ingredients that come from or are made from a renewable resource found in nature
  • absolutely no petroleum compounds. NPA believes natural ingredients
  • must be sourced naturally, but
  • also processed naturally, without synthetic or petroleum additives.

Many companies will claim that their product is natural because the source of the ingredients is natural, but what happens to that ingredient between harvesting it from the ground and adding it to the product can make it synthetic.
NPA turned this definition of “natural” into a certification program called the Natural Seal, which allows companies to voluntarily certify their products as truly natural by a third-party audited process.

Certified products must be at least 95 percent natural ingredients. In 2010, NPA prohibited all synthetic fragrances using a stricter definition of natural fragrance than most standards; this is a move that manufacturers truly embraced.

Turning to organic, there is a legal definition of “organic” from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic for foods, but that definition can also be applied to personal care products.

Organic is really a complex definition indicating the product is:

  • made from ingredients that have been grown, raised or mined without synthetic chemicals or
  • genetically engineered seed stock and
  • processed free of synthetic chemicals,
  • sewage sludge,
  • irradiation and other processes.

The NOP also offers a certification categorizing products into one of three labeling types, based on the organic content of the certified product:

• “100 percent organic” means that the product contains only organically produced ingredients and may display the USDA Organic Seal.

• “Organic” means the product consists of at least 95 percent organically produced content, and the remainder must be substances approved on the National List;  this category also can display the USDA Organic Seal.

• For a “made with organic ingredients” statement on the label, the product must be at least 70 percent organic and not use any prohibited ingredients or processes.

So, when choosing natural or organic products for your customers, be sure to look for these seals. With either of these, you are guaranteed they are the real deal.

You can check if your customers’ favorite brands have been certified at

For the latest product updates, connect with the Natural Seal on Facebook at and on Twitter @npanaturalseal.

NPA-certified products appear in more than 85,000 stores nationwide, from independent retailers to some of the largest chains in the country.

Join the cause of natural products and healthy living by becoming a member of NPA. Find out more at

Get Antibiotics out of Organic Apple and Pear Production!

A little-known use of antibiotics has quietly been allowed in organic apple and pear orchards. Most organic consumers believe that antibiotics are prohibited in organic food production systems, which is mostly true, since all other uses were outlawed when “organic” became a federally regulated program in 2002. 

Yet, the use of the antibiotics tetracycline and streptomycin, commonly used to treat human and animal infections, in apple and pear growing have been the exception.  Organic apple and pear growers spray them in their orchards to prevent the spread of a costly disease called fire blight, which stifles new growth and can kill trees.

Tell the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that the spraying of antibiotics on apple and pear trees goes against the principles of organic, and it’s high time this loophole was closed.

Unfortunately, tetracycline and streptomycin have become the treatment of choice for controlling fire blight and, subsequently, resistance to streptomycin has already become a problem in many apple and pear orchards.

When antibiotics are used to kill targeted bacteria, some bacteria are resistant and contribute to the pool of resistant genes in the environment.  This situation increases the likelihood that human pathogens will eventually acquire that resistance.

Given the problems associated with antibiotic resistance, and the potential for reduced effectiveness of these important drugs for curing human infections, the obvious question is why all uses of antibiotics haven’t been prohibited in organic?

The short answer is that many organic pear and apple growers feel they have limited options since research has been slow to identify alternatives to stop the spread of fire blight. Yet, other growers have found that antibiotics are not needed by keeping a close watch on their orchards and by using the full range of cultural practices and organic inputs available to prevent the spread of the disease.

In 2011, the NOSB informed organic apple and pear growers that both tetracycline and streptomycin would be prohibited after the current extension for its use expired on October 21, 2014. Concerned about their inability to meet the deadline, some growers have petitioned the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to extend the expiration date, again, until 2016.

Tell the NOSB that enough is enough — without time pressure to end the use of tetracycline and streptomycin, alternative controls likely will not be implemented as soon as they could be.  Given the growing public and medical community concern about antibiotic resistance and its effects on health, we cannot risk having these important antibiotics lose their effectiveness for killing human pathogens. Moreover, the entire organic label and organic program is at risk of losing credibility because organic consumers do not expect antibiotics to be used in any of the organic products they buy, and certainly not in apples and pears.

Organic growers do a huge disservice to the growing numbers of consumers who choose organic under the presumption that organic means something and isn’t being screwed with.

California’s Prop 37 Recount Backstory

GMO_CoverThere WAS a recount, headed by Tom Courbat, former senior budget analyst for LA County. The recount process was met with cooperation in Orange and Sierra counties and with massive opposition in Fresno County, to the point that the private citizens who were paying for the recount were unable to pursue and complete the recount. You can read the whole story here:

Next Steps.

As you are aware, there are many new initiatives around the country to label GMOs. Counties, towns and states are taking this issue seriously and implementing change. It is wonderful that our PROP 37 did serve to educate many people.

What you can do now to continue your commitment to a wholesome food supply is join FOOD INTEGRITY NOW. This is an initiative, as the name states, dedicated to educating about and supporting integrity in all aspects of our food supply. To join, go to

CALL TO ACTION: Join Food Integrity Now at

Thank you to all those who were so generous in offering to donate talents, skills, abilities, services and time to this issue. Carol Grieve, founder of Food Integrity Now, is eager to hear from you about resources you wish to share to support the return to a clean, sustainable and wholesome food supply.

Brain Training and Daily Intermitent Fasting Improves Cognition

OSSINING, N.Y., March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Known for giving very sharp, lucid interviews, the late Walter Breuning at 114 was the oldest man in the world. He followed a Daily Intermittent Fasting plan, eating a large breakfast, smaller lunch and then fasting until the next morning. His eating plan resonates with Brain Booster members of, who find that some time away from food improves brain function.

thumb_memory_preventing_loss_coverBrain Boosters focus on improving memory, processing speed, accuracy, and thought synchronization � while reducing risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases and dementia.

“When scientists or doctors make discoveries that can affect people’s lives positively, LivingTheCRWay invites them to host live teleconferences that are friendly conversations with the members. Participants have time to ask questions that matter to them,” says Paul McGlothin, President of He continues, “A short fast to improve brain health was inspired by the work of Dr. Mark Mattson, Chief Neurobiologist of the National Institute on Aging.”

Listen as Dr. Mattson discusses the research that helped LivingTheCRWay create its Brain Booster plan: Calorie Restriction for a Better Brain (

The Brain Booster program includes:

  • Healthful, delicious meals � food and recipe suggestions to improve brain function
  • Low Blood Glucose � glucose control plans to promote formation of new neurons while reducing risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases
  • Daily Intermittent Fasting � safe ketone production, facilitating learning while protecting neurons from dangerous oxidative stress
  • Stress Reduction � decline in neuron-damaging stress while the cerebral cortex size increases and circulation improves
  • Circadian Optimization � Better concentration when needed, with easier bed-time relaxation and more restorative sleep
  • Improved neural synchrony � better coordination of thought processes

The LivingTheCRWay Brain Booster teleconference on April 3, features Dr. Emily Rogalski, PhD, of Northwestern University, who recently identified a select group of “SuperAgers” in their 80s who perform better on tested cognitive functions than people 30 years younger. People of all ages who want to boost their brain power can find out more by calling 877-841-4841 or emailing

LivingTheCRWay memberships ( support DNA HACR

( a citizen science study, launched in partnership with the CR Society International. Additional LivingTheCRWay memberships include Healthful Weight Loss, Optimal Health, Longevity Level, and Diabetes Intervention.

LivingTheCRWay ( makes it easy to put science into practice for more years of great health. Departing from dehumanized electronic communications � LivingTheCRWay is a friendly, holistic online community. Members enjoy delicious, healthful lifestyles that include live, supportive teleconferences � often with a leader in the world of science and health


Get Up, Stand Up: Workers on Notice to Re-energize With Movement

  • By Rebecca Vesely

Workplace program pushes people to leave their desk and walk around for one to two minutes

every 25 to 30 minutes.

With a new year there often comes a renewed focus at work. But how can people maintain that focus and energy throughout the year?

Perhaps the answer is in “strategic movement,” a workplace engagement tool advocated by Jack Groppel, co-founder of the Human Performance Institute and vice president of applied science and performance training at Wellness & Prevention Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company.


The principle behind strategic movement is simple: The brain functions better with increased blood flow. It takes only one to two minutes of movement after a period of rest to increase energy and motivation, Groppel says.

“Where have you been when you’ve had your best ideas?” Groppel asks. “You were most likely standing up and moving.”

Aiming to upend the workplace culture of long sit-down meetings and hours spent slumped in cubicles, Groppel started Organizations in MOTION. The project studies what happens to performance, job satisfaction and engagement when workers add small, frequent amounts of exercise to their days.

The program advocates standing up and walking around for one to two minutes every 25 to 30 minutes.For fitness, move it or lose it

“We’re not saying, take a break,” Groppel says. Rather, workers would focus their attention on movement, such as going up a flight of stairs or walking around their office floor.

New Balance, the Boston-based athletic-shoe and -apparel company, took up the challenge last year. Some 750 employees at two corporate offices participated in the program for 90 days. The workers received daily emails from Groppel suggesting ideas for frequent and creative movement in the workplace.

Volunteer “movement champions” helped motivate their peers to stick to the program. Participants set reminders on their desktop computers. Leaders were encouraged to remind workers that they needed to move, to get up from their desks frequently and stand up during calls and meetings.

Participants who climbed stairs during these short intervals could collect tokens and cash them in for small rewards, Groppel says.

At the end of the 90-day program:

  • 53 percent said they had increased their physical activity and movement at work, and
  • 89 percent said they would continue with the changes.
  • Some 37 percent reported high levels of energy in the middle of the day, an 11 percent increase before the start of the challenge. And
  • 42 percent reported increased engagement and focus at work.

Notably, the largest increases in responses were seen for self-reported statements such as, “I am enthusiastic about my job,” “I find the work that I do full of meaning and purpose,” “My job inspires me,” “In the morning, I feel like going to work,” “At my work, I feel bursting with energy,” and “At my job, I feel strong and vigorous.”

The footwear manufacturer continues to promote the program along with its other wellness offerings.

“This program enhanced our workplace environment by engaging our associates to collaborate in new ways to increase their energy and focus levels,” says Joe Preston, executive vice president, global footwear product and marketing for New Balance.

Groppel says the idea of strategic movement at work has yet to take off.

“We still have a ways to go,” he says of the program. “Corporate leaders have to give their employees permission to do this.”

Some of his corporate clients are incorporating strategic movement by scheduling meetings for 55 minutes instead of an hour, blocking out the last five minutes to encourage movement, Groppel says.

“We have to look at how do we get the brain to be more engaged?” he says. “We have to teach people energy management, not just time management.”

Rebecca Vesely is a writer based in San Francisco. Comment below or email

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