Organic Consumers Association

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'Natural': The Most Meaningless Word on Your Food Label?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Myth of Natural page and our Safeguard Organic Standards page.

Consumers, the marketers all tell us, want foods that are 'wholesome', 'authentic', and above all 'natural', although a few of them can articulate what this means.

And they are not alone. Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have not had a good stab at defining 'natural' either.

The FDA follows a 1993 policy that states: "[FDA] has not objected to use the term [natural] on food labels provided it is used in a manner that is truthful and not misleading and the product does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances."

Is FDA 1993 definition useful?

But what about high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, organic solvents such as hexane, GMOs, pesticides and a whole raft of other ingredients that some stake holders believe do not belong in a product labeled as 'all-natural'?

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