Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Understanding Food Labeling {Part 2 of 3}

Welcome back! Today, part 2 covers the term natural! In case you missed it, here is Part 1:Organic.


Natural Cheetos?? Please...nothing that color of orange comes from nature.

What does "natural" mean?
To put it bluntly, "natural," in the overwhelming majority of cases is meaningless, even though most consumers do not fully understand this. Natural, in other words, means conventional, with a green veneer. Natural products are routinely produced using pesticides, chemical fertilizer, hormones, genetic engineering, and sewage sludge. Natural or conventional products-whether produce, dairy, or canned or frozen goods are typically produced on large industrial farms or in processing plants that are highly polluting, chemical-intensive and energy-intensive. "Natural," "all-natural," and "sustainable," products in most cases are neither backed up by rules and regulations, nor a Third Party certifier. Natural and sustainable are typically label claims that are neither policed nor monitored.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service provides loose, non-enforced guidelines for the use of the term "natural" on meat--basically the products cannot contain artificial flavors, coloring, or preservatives and cannot be more than minimally processed.  

On non-meat products, the term natural is typically pure propaganda.  Companies are using this term to lead consumers to believe they are buying a healthy product. Furthermore, some companies that started out organic and built brand loyalty as organic brands, switched to non-organic ingredients and "natural" labeling.

Sad, isn't it? 

Stay tuned for Part 3: GMO/GE (genetically modified/engineered foods)


Seeking MJ said...

It is sad, and so many of us fall for it. I have in the past. Thankfully I am trying to overcome that. Thanks for sharing.

Allison said...

Thank you for stopping by! I know...it is sad. It makes we wonder what ELSE don't we know??

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