A recent survey conducted by FoodNavigator makes it clear that it's time for the FDA to give some guidance about what counts as natural
Are you puzzled, annoyed, or irritated beyond belief by the word "natural" on food product labels?
FoodNavigator must think so. It conducted an opinion survey on what to do about marketing foods as "natural".
FoodNavigator asked: Do we [food companies] need a clearer definition of 'natural' for food marketing?
The response options:
- Yes. The FDA should come up with a formal definition (63 percent checked this one)
- Yes. The industry should develop voluntary guidance (20 percent)
- No. The FDA's 1993 guidance is sufficient (about 1 percent)
- No. The term is meaningless and manufacturers should stop using it (16 percent)
Hello FDA. How about it?
The FDA has never defined "natural" for labeling purposes. But it does have an answer to the question "what is the meaning of 'natural' on the label of a food," one that requires self-cancelling nots (my emphasis):
From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is 'natural' because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the Earth.
That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.
By this non-definition, High Fructose Corn Syrup is "natural" even though to make it, corn refiners must extract the starch from corn, treat the starch with an enzyme to break it into glucose, and treat the glucose with another enzyme to turn about half of it into fructose.