Is your “natural” food what Mother Nature intended? Probably not.
“All-natural” and “natural” claims are among the most commonly used claims on new food products, and annual sales of products with “natural” claims are more than $20 billion.
But many products that claim to be “natural” are filled with stuff you couldn’t find in nature – including chemical additives, high fructose corn syrup and genetically engineered ingredients.
Both agencies have “informal” policies that natural foods should be minimally processed and should not contain synthetic or artificial ingredients.
Another reason is lack of enforcement. Although the FDA has sent warnings to some companies who stretch the limits of “natural,” the agency charged with regulating 80 percent of the food supply said it has bigger fish to fry.
The result is that many products claim to be “natural” claim when there is nothing natural about them.
For example, some yogurts, chips and cooking oils labeled as “natural” or “all-natural” contain genetically engineered ingredients. Many “natural” sodas and granola bars contain high fructose corn syrup. “All natural” ice creams may be made from cows treated with growth hormones.
It’s no wonder that consumer are confused.
Recent studies show that many people believe that “natural” products are free of pesticides or genetically engineered ingredients.
And some people believe that “natural” food is better for the environment than organic food. In fact, one survey found that people are twice as likely to think that “natural” food is free of artificial ingredients.
Unlike so-called “natural” foods, organic food is actually held to tough standards, enforced by the USDA. Organic foods must be free of toxic pesticides, genetically engineered ingredients, hormones and antibiotics to carry the organic seal.
In other words, only organic guarantees that food was produced as Mother Nature intended.