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Industry Issues Index

Last Updated: February 3, 2014

Topic: Natural Labeling

Related Topics: Labeling


FDA allows food comapnies to make a range of claims on food packaging. The use of the "natural" claim as recently become a hot topic due to the lack of a formal definition as to what is and what is not natural. Over the past few years there has been an increase in the number of lawsuits targeting food companies that make a "natural" claim. FDA recently rejected a request by three judges to define the term “natural”. The judges are presiding over cases brought against food companies for using the “natural” claim when the consumer believes there are ingredients that would not fall into that category.  


NCA advises member companies to use “natural” labeling claims carefully and in accordance with FDA’s informal statement: “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.”