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Should processed foods be allowed to call themselves 'all natural'?

Some food companies ditch the 'natural' label.
Some food companies ditch the 'natural' label.
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Does an 'all natural' label make you more likely to buy a product? Many consumers think a 'natural' or 'all natural' label means those products are less processed but that's not always true. Unlike the "organic" designation, there are no federal guidelines for which food products can be labeled as natural.

Food manufacturers from PepsiCo to Pepperidge Farm have quietly stopped using the term after being slapped with lawsuits that allege the term is misleading to customers. Kid-friendly Goldfish crackers will no longer have the label of "natural" after Pepperidge Farm was targeted in a class action lawsuit this summer.

Pepsi-Co came under fire for releasing a marketing campaign for it's Frito-Lay division, which put an "all natural" label on Lay's potato chips, SunChips and Rold Gold pretzels. The company was hit with lawsuits that allege the snacks actually contained GMOs and additives including caramel color, citric acid and malodextrin.

Should the FDA come up with a set standard for the term "natural" like it does for organic foods? Should companies be allowed to label their foods as 'natural' if they contain preservatives or GMOs? Without a designation of what 'natural' means, can't almost anything be considered natural?


Steve Gardner, litigation director for Center for Science in the Public Interest

Baylen Linnekin, attorney and executive director of Keep Food Legal, a non-profit that advocates for food freedom