natural foods

Defining Natural Foods


The newest hype in the food industry is natural foods. Just look at the supermarket shelves; there is ‘natural’ this and ‘all-natural’ that. But is the term just being thrown around by manufacturers?

A research done by Michael Pollan, a professor of journalism at Berkeley University as well as the author of bestselling Food Rules, reported to New York Times that in past few years, at least 200 class-actions suits were filed against food manufacturers and their misuse of the term “natural”. But none of the trails came to avail.


Because the judges did not find a proper definition for the word natural. In these cases, the plaintiffs argue that many of these products contain ingredients – high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavours and colourings, chemical preservatives and genetically modified organisms – that the typical consumer would not think of as ‘natural’. However, since there is no precise definition for the word natural it was hard to pin down the specifics.

The  Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of America refused to provide a definition for this case and only advised that food labelled ‘natural’ should have ‘nothing artificial or synthetic’ in it ‘that would not normally be expected in the food’. Unfortunately, Australia consumers are going through a similar situation with the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ).

Do you need to keep tabs on what is really “all-natural” or not?

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