Many consumers are often under the belief that eating foods which are affixed with labels containing the term “natural” means that they are eating healthy foods with increased nutritional value and that are free of any pesticides and other chemicals often used in the production process. Unfortunately, under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current definition of the term “natural,” the majority of consumers would be wrong in their belief. FDA has long considered the term “natural” to mean that 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 that food. FDA, however, when defining the term “natural,” did not take into consideration food production methods, such as the use of pesticides, food processing or manufacturing methods, such as thermal technologies, pasteurization, or irradiation, or whether the food that the label is affixed to, provides any increased nutritional value or human benefit. As a result of the changing landscape of food ingredients and production, as well as, the increased number of food labeling lawsuits regarding the term “natural,” FDA is now asking the public to provide information and comments on the use of the term “natural” in the labeling of human food products. Specifically, the FDA asks for information and public comment on questions such as:
Whether it is appropriate to define the term “natural;”
If so, how the agency should define “natural;” and
How the agency should determine appropriate use of the term on food labels.
FDA has extended the comment period to May 10, 2016.
If you are interested in participating in the comment period or have questions regarding FDA’s labeling requirements for any particular good, contact Davidson Law Group, P.A.