You're not alone! I mean, at least that is what I realized when I saw the FDA's "call to action" early November asking for comments on what should be considered "natural" when labeling products. Why the confusion? For example, items currently labeled all "natural" have been known to have high fructose corn syrup and GMOs. Everyone was shocked at this news from the FDA. I have to applaud the FDA for basically throwing up their hands to ask for help on the question they have avoided for years. In fact, the only time the FDA officially commented on the subject was in 1993 when they published non-binding guidance of the meaning: "...nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food". Hmmm... yeah, with the growing emphasis on functional medicine and food safety these days, I can understand why the FDA has received numerous petitions demanding a definition; some even asking the FDA to take away the word altogether...
Here are some comments I liked:
It is a pretty simple concept. The word, "Natural" in the dictionary means: existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind. As such any ingredient that is made by artificial, synthetic or genetically modified means it cannot rightfully be be, "natural."
Therefore if a food product(s) contain any artificial, synthetic or genetically modified ingredient(s) it should be illegal to call or list such a food product "natural". John Stewart
"Natural" labeling needs to be defined as non-GMO, with no processed additives (whether they are from a natural source or not). The product must include only whole food, non-genetically modified ingredients. Elise McLain
What do you think? What are other people saying? Check it out and provide your comments!
I am Katie Rhodes, owner of OWN-Nutrition. I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian in Little Rock, Arkansas with a Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition. That sounds fancy, but it really means I'm a foodie at heart.