Recently, PepsiCo paid $9 million to settle a lawsuit after it was discovered that their “All Natural” Naked Juice contained artificial ingredients. Rather than actually make the drink all natural, it has dropped the All Natural label from the brand.
This event underscores one of the most profitable and successful hoaxes the food industry has pulled on consumers. People have become more informed about what they eat and are increasingly interested in healthy diets. The processed food industry, with its wealthy and powerful marketing firms, capitalized swiftly on this mood change in consumers.
They began using a notoriously vague word to suggest that their product poses no danger to your health. “All Natural” became all the rage. This happened alongside the rise of Certified Organic labeling, a far more precise and legally-binding description for food. Companies use nearly identical labels for “Natural” and “Organic.” In fact, some surveys have found that a “Natural” label actually has broader public appeal than “Organic,” which illustrates the success of the marketing.
Food with a “Natural” label has no added health benefit for a consumer. You can buy a steak that was raised on GMO grains, injected with hormones and antibiotics, and raised in a Confined Animal Feeding Operation with no view of the outside world, and it can be labeled “All Natural.” You can buy a product with processed GMO vegetables that have been doused in pesticides, insecticides, and irradiation, and it can be labeled “All Natural.”
Making a so-called “natural” food is no more expensive than making a conventional food, but the industry is charging a premium for these products. And it is making people believe that these foods are healthier than conventional foods.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seem to have no interest in evaluating products labeled “Natural” they way that Certified Organic is. There is no independent, third-party inspection required, as there is for Certified Organic.
This should be no surprise and could quite possibly be the desired situation for the industry and the regulators. We know that industry spends a great deal of money putting lawmakers in its pocket.
The issue is not going away and food industry titans may find themselves with more headaches. General Mills is facing a class action lawsuit over its Nature Valley granola bars. They label this product as “natural” even though it contains high maltose corn syrup and maltodextrin.
“High maltose corn syrup and maltodextrin are highly processed, do not exist in nature and not even under the most elastic possible definition could they be considered ‘natural,‘ “ said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
A federal judge has denied General Mills’ attempt to dismiss the case by claiming the issue should be addressed by the FDA and not the courts. But General Mills knows full well, like the rest of us, that FDA does not care to take a stance on the use of “Natural.”
While industry fights legal battles to keep on deceiving consumers, let’s bypass that mess and simply stop buying products that proudly proclaim to be “natural.” It really means nothing.
By Justin Gardener, REALfarmacy.com
Source: Real Farmacy