What is “All-Natural”?

I hate the phrase “all-natural”. When we moved to the US, we noticed that there was a lot of food marketed as “natural”. It seemed at the time, that they were promoting a healthy product. However, on closer inspection, the ingredients contained all sorts of nasties. Let’s just say that “all-natural” isn’t what it’s cut out to be! The phrase “all-natural” could mean anything! 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – “a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. The label must explain the use of the term natural (such as – no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed)” [1]

Furthermore, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have no general definition of “natural” whatsoever. 

Unfortunately, “all-natural” can mislead a few people in thinking that it’s organic, it’s not! For a food item to be organic, there are stringent requirements, policies and procedures that need to be met before being “organically-certified”.

The definition that the USDA uses for “natural” products is so vague, that they allow corn-syrup and high-fructose corn syrup to be called as such. There’s nothing natural about the multiple-stage refinement process, that involves the use of hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide to turn corn kernels into syrup. Other examples that can be classified as “natural”, include genetically modified organisms and animal products that have been raised using artificial hormones. I would therefore advise you read the entire ingredients of anything labeled “natural” before you consume it.

 

References

[1] http://www.fsis.usda.gov

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