Organic Program

January 27, 2023


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Ideas and perspectives on what constitutes a natural product may vary. It is the bread natural? Is fruit natural? What about soap? Or nail polish? What criteria can an interested consumer use to distinguish between a natural or synthetic? The answer is not as clear as some would have us believe. The world around us is made of atoms, molecules, compounds and chemicals. We manipulate the natural world around us so that new substances can serve our needs in ways not even imagined fifty years ago. This article clarifies what is natural and what is synthetic, followed by a discussion of how we should view synthetic products and their implications for our daily use of cosmetics and personal care products. What is natural? Nature is composed of physical, chemical and biological principles and laws governing the known and unknown world and universe.

The term "natural" is used to describe a substance or condition that is: – In harmony with nature – Belonging or connected to nature – Derived or obtained from nature According to the U.S. National Organic Program (NOP), a naturally occurring substance derived from a vegetable, mineral or animal origin without having undergone a process of synthesis (defined in the next section of the article). The physical and biological processes can still make a natural substance. For example, drying corn kernels can be removed from the cob, then ground to make cornmeal. The maize has undergone a physical change, but is still considered natural. Yeast is an example of a microorganism that can be an agent for biological change in a substance.