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Mar 28, 2011 11:50 AM

How Does the Food and Drug Administration Define the Word "Natural"

I see the word all the time in advertising and I'm curious as to what the actual definition is?

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  1. Have you gone to their website?

    1. Vague. They do have a system for "organic" so if you're really looking for natural stuff, best to go with the organic label. I think the "natural" labeling is a deceptive practice used to deceive consumers into believing it's organic.

      "From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is 'natural' because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances."

      1. As Ediblover seaid they don't, the paragraph mentions "synthetic" but where does one draw the line when it comes to food. Everyone could probably agree that red 40 is synthetic, but how about TVP, soy sauce powder, or pryidoxine? But if I had to guess at the real-world definition I'd say 'overpriced processed food products that contain "whole grains", soy, or at least one organic ingredient.'
        Either way as a long time vegetarian who's put some serious time into co-ops I've spent a bit of time goofing on things like "nature's burger", or "all natural" vegan chicken nuggets. Yup, just like mother nature intended.

        1. It's a pure marketing term.

          1. It is, as others have said, a marketing term and may mean different things by different vendors. The best way to find out what it means is to ask the store/market that is using it. SOMETIMES, but not always, it means something closer to organic, but the farmer may not want to go through the hassle that term requires, OR may not meet the long term feeding requirements he must meet in order to use the term "organic." Asking questions at the store is your best bet.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              Out here in Austin "natural" is being used to market brisket and it made me wonder what a "natural" brisket is.

              Hence the post.

              Thanks for the info everybody.

              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                I'd be more curious as to what an "unnatural brisket" might be.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Trust me, you DON'T want t know! '-)