Tag Archives | Natural Foods

What’s ‘Natural’ Food? The Government Isn’t Sure And Wants Your Input

I’m sure you have an opinion about what “natural” means when it comes to food. The good news: the FDA wants to hear from you; the bad news: it wants to hear from everyone else having a stake in the definition, including the processed food corporations. NPR reports on the coming fiasco:

The Food and Drug Administration is seeking your input to answer a question: How should the agency define “natural” on food labels?

Disagreement over what “all natural” or “100 percent natural” means has spawned dozens of lawsuits. Consumers have challenged the naturalness of all kinds of food products.

For instance, can a product that contains high fructose corn syrup be labeled as natural? What about products that contain genetically modified ingredients?

The FDA has received three citizen petitions asking for clarification. And, beginning Thursday, the agency will ask us — the public — to weigh in. Comments can be submitted electronically.

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The Backlash Against ‘Natural’ Foods

The pendulum of popular sentiment seems to be swinging back towards the “better living through chemistry” era just as the likes of Kraft and Pepsi are caving to demands for less chemicals in food. Gawker‘s post “The Bullshit Hypocrisy of ‘All-Natural’ Foods” is the latest example of skepticism about “natural” foods:



Here’s the thing about nature: It will fuck up your shit.

A few weeks ago, the website The Naked Label published a picture of a vibrant, colorful mushroom. It was captioned with a quotation from author and paleo diet advocate Diane Sanfilippo: “We cannot make food better than nature.”

The problem? The mushroom pictured was the Amanita muscariawhich is highly poisonous.

The Naked Label probably wasn’t recommending poisonous mushrooms as a part of your balanced cannabis-induced munchies on purpose. However, this tiny meme is symptomatic of a bigger problem on the internet: self-declared “natural health” gurus who say everything natural is automatically better.

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What Are ‘Natural’ Foods?

Marion Nestle, NYU’s food guru, explains at her blog, Food Politics:

FoodNavigator.com has issued a collection of its recent articles on “natural” and processing. At issue is the meaning of “natural,” which many people perceive as equivalent to organic or healthy. As I’ve said before, it isn’t.

Rainbow of food natural food colors

Natural has no regulatory meaning. The FDA merely says (note obfuscating double negatives):

From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth.

That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.

One thing is clear: “natural” sells food products.

Selling processed foods in a whole food world?

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Feds Sting Amish Farmer Selling Raw Milk Locally

Raw milk. Photo: Jgharston (CC)

Raw milk. Photo: Jgharston (CC)

Stephan Dinan writes for The Washington Times:

A yearlong sting operation, including aliases, a 5 a.m. surprise inspection and surreptitious purchases from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, culminated in the federal government announcing this week that it has gone to court to stop Rainbow Acres Farm from selling its contraband to willing customers in the Washington area.

The product in question: unpasteurized milk.

It’s a battle that’s been going on behind the scenes for years, with natural foods advocates arguing that raw milk, as it’s also known, is healthier than the pasteurized product, while the Food and Drug Administration says raw milk can carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

“It is the FDA’s position that raw milk should never be consumed,” said Tamara N. Ward, spokeswoman for the FDA, whose investigators have been looking into Rainbow Acres for months, and who finally last week filed a 10-page complaint in federal court in Pennsylvania seeking an order to stop the farm from shipping across state lines any more raw milk or dairy products made from it.

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