“Natural” Claim Remains Undefined

April 14, 2008 at 11:30 pm 1 comment

Consumers must remain in the dark about the meaning of “All Natural” for the foreseeable future.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declined to establish a formal definition for the term ‘natural’ on food packaging, according to a report in the online newsletter FoodNavigator-USA. The question was raised in response to formal petitions submitted by the Sugar Association and Sara Lee, requesting the FDA to define ‘natural’. The FDA, when pressed, acknowledged that its doesn’t support the use of ‘natural’ on food and beverage products containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

While ‘All Natural’ was the third most frequent claim made on food and beverage products, introduced last year based on data from the Mintel Report, there are no nutritional standards for the term; in effect, the term is meaningless. Put into context, poison ivy and lead are natural substances, but these aren’t substances that should be consumed. It takes a savvy shopper to discern whether a product is healthy or not, and the best way to make this determination is to read the food label.

Unlike the uncertainty of what ‘natural’ means on a food or beverage, the use of ‘organic‘ has a standardized definition, a recognizable label, and plenty of regulatory heft behind it. Most important, choosing ‘organic’ over non-organic can and does matter. There are certain foods that are well worth seeking out if you are at interested in minimizing your child(ren)’s exposure to pesticides, fertilizers, artificial coloring and additives. For more information, check out these sites:

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Entry filed under: Nutrition News. Tags: , , , , , , .

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