Is That Food REALLY Natural?
When the label says natural… is it?
If you look at a lot of the labels on foods in the grocery store, you will see the word “Natural” in lots of places. That makes it sound like there are no chemicals or any manmade ingredients in the food. After all, when the word natural is used to describe something, the dictionary defines it as:
“Natural: existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind”
That sounds pretty good, but when it comes to labeling food, it doesn’t have to mean anything of the sort.
Natural Can Mean Anything The Producer Wants It To Mean
When the officials at the FDA were asked, “What is the meaning of ‘natural’ on the label of food?” they responded with this:
From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.
The problem is there is NO official requirements or regulations on the use of the word “natural” when labeling foods. So why do so many foods carry that label?
Here’s a spoof sort of video on why the food industry uses the term “natural” on packages. It’s pretty funny… but it’s also sadly true.
As mentioned in our article on egg labeling, there is no regulation on using the word “natural” on a food label.
So be wary when buying foods… if you want natural, the label to look for is “Organic”. If something is labeled that it is certified organic, it has to meet certain regulations.
Natural on a food label can be very misleading.