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Why the ‘All Natural’ Food Label Can Be False Advertising

Why the ‘All Natural’ Food Label Can Be False Advertising

Notice anything different about Naked Juice, Lays or Goldfish? If you haven’t, you may want to start looking at the products a little closer. PepsiCo and Campbell Soup Company are quietly removing the “All Natural” label from their products.

Food companies have faced at least 100 lawsuits in the last two years over claims of false advertising, and it’s likely even more are in the works. Customers feel that if food has been processed or contains ingredients like high fructose corn syrup shouldn’t be labeled as natural.

Customers were also the ones who demanded “natural” products in the first place. A majority of consumers say they look for natural foods when they grocery shop, but only 47 percent view that claim as trustworthy.

Most of the problem comes from the fact no legal definition of the term natural exists. Companies are left up to their own devices to decide which of their products are natural and which ones are not. For PepsiCo, labeling foods as “All Natural” was a signal to customers about their efforts to provide healthier food options. In the specific case of Naked Juice, the label was supposed to represent the “bare-naked fruits” used to make the product.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no definition for natural, they do have a long-standing guideline. Under this policy, ”nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food.”

In September, a “food labeling modernization” bill was introduced in Congress. This bill would force the FDA to establish a standard nutritional labeling system. In the system new guidelines for the use of “natural” would be established. Promising as the new bill is, it is likely to take a long time before it is completely decided on in Congress.

The FDA has also said that “it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer a product of the earth.” This is probably true, as foods are labeled natural more as a way to convince customers to buy them than as an actual description. After all, food labeled “natural” brought in more than $40 billion in the United States alone last year. That’s second only to foods that claim to be low in fat.

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Food, News & Issues, ,

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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106 comments

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11:27AM PST on Dec 8, 2013

Always have to read labels carefully.

12:22PM PST on Dec 7, 2013

In truth, there is very little left on this planet that is completely 'natural' any more and little food left un processed in some way shape or form. This is not a virgin planet with a pristine atmosphere and landscape; humanoid intervention has seen to put an end to that. Even the definition of 'organic' is somewhat dubious now. You can but try;)

11:38AM PST on Dec 7, 2013

Thanky you for sharing this article, we must be careful with what we buy.

4:39AM PST on Dec 7, 2013

thank you for sharing

2:43AM PST on Dec 7, 2013

Quelle surprise

2:08AM PST on Dec 7, 2013

Thank you for sharing

11:27PM PST on Dec 6, 2013

All Natural is meaningless.

7:34PM PST on Dec 6, 2013

Thank you for sharing

1:37PM PST on Dec 6, 2013

They "naturally" try to deceive us....it's time to use good judgment and just maybe it will lead "big food corps" to kiss "our" arses! Enough is enough! Thanks for sharing.

10:37AM PST on Dec 6, 2013

thank you

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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.

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