Food firms using the word natural
According to a survey released by Consumer Reports on 16 June, 60% of consumers look for the word “natural” on the foods they buy. Two thirds of those polled think it means that the product has no artificial ingredients, pesticides or genetically modified organisms – including artificial growth hormones, antibiotics or drugs in meat. And 80% think that the presence of “natural” on food packaging should mean those things.
The problem is that ”natural” means just about nothing, in terms of US food labelling regulations. Products marked “natural” aren't certified or inspected to ensure they are, and the legal definition is vague at best.
Citing the lack of a “single meaning to a significant number of consumers”, the Federal Trade Commission in 2012 declined to include the word “natural” (or “sustainable”) in its latest Green Guides, which set guidelines for green marketing claims. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explicitly notes that it has no definition for “natural”, allowing companies to use it if a product doesn’t contain “added color, artificial flavor, or synthetic substances”. And the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) gives a barebones definition – products must “contain no artificial ingredients” and be “minimally processed”.
Written by Alla Katsnelson
sourced form Guardian