Something in the human mind, or heart, seems to need a word of praise for all that humanity hasn’t contaminated, and for us that word now is “natural.” This sentence is from the NYTimes Magazine article “Altered State” that I read this past weekend.
There have been at least 200 class-action lawsuits filed against food manufacturers recently. They are being charged with the misuse of the word “natural” as an adjective in marketing their “products.” Examples are “natural” Cheetos Puffs and “100 percent all-natural” Tyson chicken nuggets. Seriously.
Most of the lawsuits are being heard in the Northern District of California. The federal judges there have sought a standard definition of that adjective “natural” so they could determine if the claims have merit. They discovered no such thing exists. Does this mean that anything goes when claiming something is natural?
The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has now been asked to get involved. The federal judges requested the FDA provide that definition. Basically the FDA’s response was that any food labeled “natural” should have “nothing artificial or synthetic” in it “that would not normally be expected in the food.”
I have written about this before – and it’s included in my book – if “food” has a “label” on it, that is a “product.” It has been through a manufacturing process. I prefer to eat “real food”…where I prepare the food myself and know what ingredients are in it.
If a food product needs to tell you that it’s “natural”… it probably isn’t.