What does the Label “Natural” mean on a Food product?

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Reading “natural” on the food product labels affects us positively, and we tend to buy the product more often. Isn’t that true? But have you wondered how natural the “natural” labeled products are?

It’s a tricky question, and finding an answer would require us to explore the FDA regulations. This is what we are going to cover in this article.

What does natural mean?

The term natural can be subjective considering the current manufacturing processes, eating preferences, and other aspects. For some people, ethical sourcing should be a part of it. 

While for others absence of non-synthetic items from the food is enough to call it natural. With such a broad view, building a consensus over the term natural is a difficult task.

How FDA defines natural?

With a broad spectrum of definitions becoming a part of the debate, FDA has dived in and defined natural food products as the ones made of only “natural” items with no synthetic ingredient added.

However, this definition has not addressed the methods of food production or processing.

It means that companies can label products as natural in which there are no additives, preservatives, or colors added. But they don’t have to account for the use of pesticides on the crop, environmental damage, or ethical sourcing.

Is this definition a law?

Even this definition presented by FDA has not achieved the status of law. It is only an answer to the rising public concerns about “natural” product labeling.  

So, there is a high probability that you will find food items in supermarkets with the word “natural” even when the minimal standards set by FDA are not met.

Such a situation leads you to two options. You’ll have to read the labels of the products before you buy and identify the ingredients that you don’t consider to be natural enough. Or just rely on the food manufacturer and purchase what is being sold as a natural product. The choice is yours.

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