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FDA declines to define ‘natural’

FDA declines to define ‘natural’

JANUARY 17, 2008—Citing limited resources and a lack of consumer interest, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that it will not attempt to define “natural.”

The U.S. Sugar Association and food manufacturer Sara Lee petitioned the FDA to define the word “natural” as it relates to food.

“The bottom line is we’d have to have consumer research that shows overwhelmingly that people are being misled,” an FDA spokesperson told FoodNavigator USA. “Even if people interpret it in different ways, it doesn’t mean there is confusion out there. If there was, then we would definitely raise it as a priority.”

A bittersweet decision, said the Sugar Association. “There are several things that are of concern to us,” President and CEO Andy Briscoe told Functional Ingredients Magazine. “First is the claim that it is not a consumer issue; second is the fact the agency says consumer research is needed before it can make a ruling; and finally is the agency’s contradictory stance on the issue of natural over the years.”

A Mintel market survey conducted in 2007 found that “all natural” is the second most frequent claim on food labels.

With the recent consumer fervor for organic and natural products, it’s important to create standards for those claims to keep consumers from being misled, Sara Lee and the Sugar Association argued.

“We hope that the FDA will reconsider defining the term ‘natural’ as a priority. This is the appropriate time to clearly define ‘natural’ and protect consumers from misleading claims,” Briscoe said. “After all, the FDA has established regulatory guidelines for the term ‘healthy,’ why can’t the same be done for ‘natural’?”

Read more: Food, Green Kitchen Tips, , , , ,

By Care2 editorial staff

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


+ add your own
8:45PM PDT on Mar 21, 2013


12:32AM PST on Jan 3, 2013

Natural doesn't necessarily mean good, so of course they won't commit to anything.

8:51AM PST on Nov 30, 2012

Natural GMOs????!!!!

6:13AM PST on Nov 29, 2012

thanks for the info

5:35PM PST on Feb 22, 2012

So, where are the petitions??? Let's bug the lazy FDA!

3:59PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Thanks for your article. Here has an important message: Please help to spread and read and support. Many people do not like you can have opportunity to see
Thanks again.

3:56PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Thanks for your article. Here has an important message: Please help to spread and read and support. Many people do not like you can have opportunity to see
Thanks again.

6:46AM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

Thanks for the article.

3:52AM PDT on Sep 28, 2010


3:51AM PDT on Sep 28, 2010

If the FDA gets any smarter...... They will start burning down cat nip farms.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Off to research this info . Thanks

I'll stick with oranges.

check out the research linking alzheimers to mad cow disease cafo is the cause

To be creative one has to be constructive never mind how small the action so: think,do, act.


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