POLL results: We need a clearer definition of natural... and the FDA should come up with it

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fda, Flavor, Food and drug administration

All-natural... But what does it mean?
All-natural... But what does it mean?
We need a formal definition of ‘natural’ to ensure it is used more consistently in food labeling and marketing– and the FDA should provide it - according to the results of the latest FoodNavigator-USA/NutraIngredients-USA poll.

Almost two thirds of respondents want the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop a more precise definition, with less than 1% believing the FDA’s 1993 guidance* is sufficiently clear.

But there is also strong support for an industry-led approach that would see trade associations co-ordinate efforts to develop some voluntary guidance – perhaps reflecting a belief that the FDA is unlikely to oblige – at least anytime soon.

Finally, a significant minority of respondents is simply fed up with the word being used on food packaging at all and suggests it is avoided altogether.

Readers were given four options to select from in response to the question: Do we need a clearer definition of 'natural' for food marketing?

  • Yes. The FDA should come up with a formal definition
  • Yes. The industry should develop voluntary guidance
  • No. The FDA's 1993 guidance is sufficient
  • No. The term is meaningless and manufacturers should stop using it

Here's what you thought:

* The FDA has yet to establish a formal definition for the term 'natural'​ on food labels but follows a 1993 policy that states: “[FDA] has not objected to the use of the term ​[natural] on food labels provided it is used in a manner that is truthful and not misleading and the product does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.”

There were 248 respondents to this poll.

Click here ​to read more about natural claims.

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1 comment

Either a product is 100% natural or it is not!

Posted by Sudhir,

It is time when we call only 100% natural products, "natural". mostly or almost should not count. I cringe when I hear, 80%, 90% or even 95% natural. It is this 5% that can cause permanent damage to your health.

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