Home » Recent Articles » Nutrition » What Does “Natural” Really Mean?

What Does “Natural” Really Mean?

By Fredrica Syren:

For many eco-conscious people, the word “natural” makes us look twice at a product. However, when it comes to food or personal care products, “natural” can have a hidden meaning and might be very misleading for the consumer.

The label’s simply stating “natural” generated a whopping $43 billion in sales last year. That’s way more than food carrying the stories-all-natural-labellabel “organic.” A new consumer survey found that 77 percent of consumers believed that “natural” labeling means that the food does not contain artificial material, pesticide, GMOs or artificial ingredients. What most people don’t know is that there are no federal regulations around the word “natural.”

Under an informal FDA policy put into place in 1993, the FDA considers the term “natural” to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic that would not normally be expected in the food has been included in, or has been added to it. However, the FDA refuses to define the word “natural” more specifically than that, therefore allowing “gray zones” where food can be processed so much that there’s no longer anything natural left in it. Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center is trying to get a ban on the term “natural,” saying it’s too confusing and misleads consumer.

For example, the USDA allows meat, poultry and eggs to be labeled natural as long as they are “minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients.“ However, the FDA does not define the word “artificial,” so livestock that have been fed genetically modified corn and have been given antibiotics still can be labeled “natural.”

With label laws of today as well as GMOs not needing to be labeled, buying food can be so time consuming for shoppers. There are no real laws about what livestock are fed, so the only truly safe way to eat safer, healthy food is to avoid processed products and eat more whole foods instead, and to be vocal about higher standards when it comes to the food sold in our grocery stores.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

Check Also

Spotlight: 7 Restaurants with Great Gluten-Free Menus

By Kacey Bradley: Not too long ago, walking into a restaurant and requesting the gluten-free …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Become a Green-Mom.com member for FREE.

We’ll keep you updated each week on what’s new.

Sign up to receive our short video series and let Green-Mom share her top tips to going green.