FDA wants public input on defining ‘natural’ food after disagreement over what “100 percent natural” means has sparked controversy and brought on many lawsuits. The Food and Drug Administration is now seeking the general public’s help in defining what “natural” food labels actually mean in order to avoid future disagreement on the vague nature of the term.
Consumers have challenged many kinds of food products labeled as “all natural” before but there is some confusion as to what types of foods can actually be classified as being natural and what the criteria is or should be for these kinds of foods.
But the term has proven tricky to define. The Food and Drug Administration has asked for public input on the matter after having received several petitions from consumers asking that the term be defined in order to avoid confusion and misrepresentation of certain types of food as being “100 percent natural” when in fact they contained questionable ingredients.
In an effort to better understand what the general public thinks the term should encompass, the FDA has set up an electronic platform for consumers to use in order to submit their comments electronically. But this request on behalf of the organization may point out exactly why a legal definition of the term may be hard to define: it all depends on what each person considers to be natural.
In other words, the meaning of the word “natural” may be more a matter of personal opinion than one of key ingredients and processing methods. And while the FDA has undertaken the task of reading the comments submitted by the public, it has not stated any plans to redefine the term and offer a standardized, legal definition of it so far.
The Food and Drug Administration has already set a definition of what the term “natural” should mean on food labels, but this definition is still causing confusion and does not address certain developments in food production that have appeared more recently, such as genetically modified products and new food processing methods.
So far its definition of the “natural” food label is considered to refer to a product that does not contain anything artificial or synthetic, including additives such as food coloring agents.
But several companies have used the loose definition of the term in order to market their products as being natural although they contained questionable components. Several lawsuits have been brought against companies for using the term for food products that were in fact not natural. It now remains to be seen whether the FDA will be able to offer a stricter definition of the term “natural”.
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