If you’ve been following food labeling as I have been, you have probably noticed how many manufacturers use the word ‘natural’ on packaging to attract consumers to their products. Natural sells. Consumers assume a food labeled ‘natural’ is healthy. The problem? What does natural mean? The Food and Drug Administration’s take on natural is this: It’s OK for manufacturers to use the term if the food doesn’t have "added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances." The United States Department of Agriculture says that meat and poultry can be labeled ‘natural’ if they are minimally processed and have no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
As you might expect, some lawsuits have arisen from the use of the vague term ‘natural’ on foods. The result? Some companies are not using this on foods anymore. Some have replaced ‘natural’ with the words ‘simple’ or ‘simply.’ What does it mean? There’s no standard definition as with ‘natural.’ But you can be sure that the word likely resonates well with consumers who see it on the label and think the product is a healthy food choice. It might be. Or it might not be.
|Check the Nutrition Facts label & ingredients list|
Read more at missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut300.htm
Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, firstname.lastname@example.org, 573-882-1933