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FDA Wants Your Help Defining ‘Natural’

Consumer advocacy groups have sounded the alarm for years about defining the word "natural" in natural foods, and the FDA is listening -- again.

The FDA is trying to pin down what "natural" means for food labeling, and they want your help.

After years of advocacy groups calling for the term “natural” to be defined or banned, the Food and Drug Administration has listened — and is asking for public comment.

The FDA is asking for public comment on whether it is appropriate to define “natural,” and if so, how to do so and label products appropriately.

This isn’t the first time we’ve attempted to define the word “natural” on food labels. In the mid-1970s, the Federal Trade Commission defined a natural food item as one “with no artificial ingredients and only minimal processing.”

The FTC’s definition fell by the wayside in 1983. The FDA started its own search for a definition in 1991, but the project stalled.

Now the FDA is reviving the effort in part due to citizen petitions requesting the term be defined, as well as concerns over whether foods containing GMOs or high fructose corn syrup can be considered “natural.”

Public comments will be accepted starting November 12.

Read More:

  • What’s ‘Natural’ Food? The Government Isn’t Sure And Wants Your Input (NPR)
  • The Government May Finally Define ‘Natural’ Food (Fortune)
  • FDA Wants Public Comment on Use of Word ‘Natural’ on Food Labels (U.S. News)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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