The Coming Backlash Against “Natural” Foods

by Broad Street | Published 12/03/2013 | Alcoholic Beverages, Consumer Package Goods (CPG), Government Regulation, Health, Litigation, Marketing Trends, Organics, Retailing

Unlike organic, no government regulations limit the use of the term “natural,” nor are there any guidelines for its use. That may all be changing: a “food label modernization bill” was introduced in September in Congress that would require the FDA to establish a standardized labeling protocol. While the bill has not been passed, food companies are acting to remove “all natural” designation on their own or because of lawsuits. Over 100 suits have been filed against products ranging from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (which contains partially-hydrogenated oils or trans fats) to Beam, Inc.’s Skinnygirl alcoholic drinks. One of the thornier issues is whether GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) are natural or not. Judges this past Summer in cases against Gruma Corp.’s Mission tortilla chips and General Mills Inc. Nature Valley granola bars have delayed ruling until the FDA decides whether GMO foods can be marketed as “all natural.”

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