The term "natural" is used extensively by food producers on product packaging as a way of appealing to selective consumers. But what does this label actually mean? According to survey data from Consumer Reports, most people believe that meat, poultry and other foods labeled "natural" are produced without hormones, antibiotics, toxic pesticides or GMOs. Yet in reality, the label is virtually meaningless; it can actually be slapped on just about any food at the whim of the producer.
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In 2014, Consumers Union petitioned the FDA to ban the misleading "natural" term from use on food labels, and as a result of mounting pressure from concerned consumers and other advocacy organizations, the FDA is now seeking public comment about how "natural" should be defined.
As part of our ongoing Meatrix action campaign, we've joined Consumers Union in offering our audience a way to make a difference. As an organization that has long advocated for increased transparency in the food system, Consumers Union is calling on the public to urge the FDA to fix the natural label. CU's experts recommend that the FDA either ban the term entirely, or else define it in a meaningful way by requiring foods labeled "natural" to be certified organic and free from artificial or synthetic ingredients.