The FDA is currently accepting comments on the definition and use of the word “natural” for food labels. For kicks, here is what I wrote:
“As it now stands, the term “natural” on any package of food means absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand this and may feel good about buying the food because of the label. Therefore, I think it is essential that this label either be forbidden or strictly defined.
I suggest that “natural” only be applied to actual food such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, etc.
If the food contains more than one real food item, but only real food items, it will qualify as natural. For example: applesauce with only apples and cinnamon.
The food cannot contain any colorings, flavorings, preservatives, or GMO ingredients.
The food cannot be pasteurized, bleached, refined, or otherwise subject to “high processing.”
If a food has more than one ingredient, all ingredients must meet the criteria for “natural” or the food cannot carry the label.
Genetically modified foods do not qualify as “natural.”
In short, when I see the “natural” label, I want it to mean I am purchasing a food with only food items as ingredients. These may or may not be organic, which is a separate label in its own right.
Thank you for considering my comments.”
If you have an opinion on this, you have until May 10 to leave a comment. Go to http://www.regulations.gov and type FDA-2014-N-1207 in the search box.