The Not So Natural Food Claim

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The “Not So Natural” Food ClaimBy: Ali Al-Rajhi

When food companies have to slap a sticker claiming they use “all natural” ingredients, I start to question if it’s truly natural ingredients I’m consuming. I decided to take the initiative to do some research and determine what is meant by “all-natural” and how companies are able to make such claims – which are often misleading.

One medical doctor (Dr. Mercola) states that an “all natural” food label claim means “ when you attempt to find a definition for the phrase “all natural,” you can notice that nothing is set in stone:

“Natural foods” and “all natural foods” are widely used terms with various meanings and no legal definition. Natural foods are not necessarily organic foods: –


Food that contains no artificial ingredients (eg, colors, flavors, preservatives and other chemicals) and is only minimally processed (so the raw product is not fundamentally altered): –

Made without artificial ingredients or preservatives. –

What’s even more surprising is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “has no plans in the near future to establish a definition of the term ‘natural’, saying it has other priorities for its limited resources.”

To my understanding, In addition, the FDA allows for So, what can you do?Buying locally is a start. Check out your local farmer’s market where you can purchase products without additives, antibiotics, growth hormones, etc. Also, you are supporting the sustainability of these local farmers.Read the ingredients of the foods you are purchasing. The more natural the food is, the less ingredients it will contain.When shopping at your local grocery store, look for Non-GMO products (Organic Certified). Even then I question organic certified foods, but requirements to get organically certified by the USDA are more stringent and it’s an alternative for shoppers who don’t have access to a farmer’s market.If you have an iPhone, you can download a Non-GMO shopping guide free from the App store by searching “ShopNoGMO.” Buying healthy, safe foods might require you to put in some effort as far as preparing in advance and to knowing what to look for, but in the end your are doing it for your health.