Ban Misleading Food Labeling


Target: Michael R. Taylor Deputy Commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Goal: Ban the use of deceptive terminology in food labeling

The Consumer Reports National Research Center recently found that nearly 60 percent of consumers seek out products labeled “natural” when shopping for food. That same 60 percent believes that foods labeled “natural” have no artificial ingredients or pesticides and have not been genetically modified. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) never formally defined standards for the term in food labeling, it doesn’t necessarily mean any of those things.

The FDA has said that the requirements for a natural product are that it “does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.” Despite these alleged requirements, all three of these things can be found in foods claiming to be natural.

Equally ambiguous uses of the term were found on meat, eggs and poultry packaging, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture says are supposed to be “minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients” when carrying the natural label.

Consumer Reports is now trying to ban the use of the term in food labeling altogether. “It’s misleading, confusing and deceptive,” Urvashi Rangan, executive director of the Food Safety and Sustainability Center at Consumer Reports says.

Ban the term “natural” from use in food product labeling and stop misleading consumers in their already difficult food choices.


Dear Michael R. Taylor Deputy Commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration,

The term “natural” is found all over food products and nearly 60 percent of consumers seek out foods labeled “natural,” trusting that they follow certain standards expected by consumers. Unfortunately, the term usually does not assure these standards.

While the FDA says that any product labeled as such “does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances,” a trip to the store proves otherwise. Consumers need only look at the ingredients list of many “natural” foods to see that it isn’t always the case.

In an environment of more and more processing and chemical enhancements of food, the consumer deserves labeling that allows for an educated decision about what he considers sustenance. Misleading and confusing labeling like the wildly ambiguous term “natural” do not allow for a conscious choice.

In fact, the definition of the word “natural” requires that the product in question not be made or caused by man, which is clearly not the case for a product in a box in a grocery store. The labeling is not only deceptive, but improbable.

I urge you to ban the use of the term “natural” in food labeling to give consumers a better chance at making healthy food choices.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Keith Weller via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Stan Benton says:

    Most consumers now realize that “natural” hardly means “natural”, or that “natural flavors”, “artificial flavors”, or “spices” can mean dozens of horrible chemicals which are hardly “flavors”, or that anything containing corn or soy (meal, powder, oil, syrup, lecithin, etc.) which is not “organic” is probably toxic GMO. We should all refuse to purchase anything with any of these ingredients (or added sugar). Unfortunately all levels of government have sold out to the poisoners, and refuse to require honest labeling, but we can still hope.

  2. My hope is waning. It is 100% up to me to read every label before I buy it. I can not trust anyone, any more. Even employees at my local farmers markets do not know where the food is coming from. They can not answer my questions and really don’t care. It’s all just a job. It amazes me that we have contaminated water, soil, air and of course politicians and I feel like I can do nothing but sign petitions.

  3. Companies that mislabel are hiding something, lets make them accountable for the deception. Who knows how many are being harmed.

  4. Veronica-Mae Soar says:

    The only truly natural food is what you pick yourself – whether it be from your garden, your allotment or the hedgerow. In the store, if it has more than 3 ingredients put it back on the shelf. Farmers markets are supposed to be for farmers to sell their own produce – only buy from those who do.

  5. Ban Michael Taylor and any person with corporate or organizational ties from working in our public regulatory committees.

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