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Organic Consumers Association

New Campaign Debunks Misleading 'Natural' Labels, Highlights Organics Benefits

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page and our Myth of Natural page.

"Foods made with the use of toxic persistent pesticides and even genetically engineered (GE) ingredients are being labeled as natural," said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Farm. "Only organic guarantees that food is produced without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or genetically engineered ingredients. Only organic gives you complete piece of mind."

The public education campaign will include videos to help consumers understand the how the "natural" label can be used to confuse shoppers. The videos were developed by the recently launched agency Humanaut with help from advertising icon Alex Bogusky.

Organic foods are subject to stringent environment and animal welfare standards enforced by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA discourage companies from including "natural" claims on processed foods containing synthetic or artificial ingredients, there is no official definition of "natural" and little enforcement of misleading claims.

"Only organic is produced in a way that Mother Nature would recognize as natural," said Sarah Bird, chief marketing officer for Annie's, Inc. "Many products that claim to be 'natural' are made with ingredients you couldn't find in nature-including artificial flavors or colors, synthetic preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and genetically engineered ingredients."   


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