The word “natural” is derived from the word “nature,” and leads consumers to believe that foods bearing the natural label are derived from nature. However, the natural label, in its current application by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is misleading to consumers.
A December 2015 survey by Consumer Reports found that 60% of consumers understood the term natural to mean that the labeled food product was produced without pesticides or chemicals, and also did not contain artificial additives or GMOs. This consumer expectation has led to self-regulation in the marketplace primarily through litigation.
OSGATA advocates that FDA regulate natural in accordance with USDA organic standards. FDA should require natural claims to be consistent and regulated in alignment with what consumers believe “natural” to represent. If FDA decides to not adhere to these strict standards for the regulation of “natural” in the marketplace, then FDA should allow the public to decide through its interaction with companies producing products with the “natural” label.
Read OSGATA’s comments to FDA here.