Beware of 'natural' pretender foods that pose as organic

Wednesday, April 02, 2014 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: all natural, organic food, deceptive labeling

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(NaturalNews) Thanks to lax enforcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of regulations guiding the proper use of the word natural on food product labels, many organic pretender brands are now shamelessly using the trendy term to sell junk food disguised as healthy. But one organic advocacy group is trying to change this with a new awareness campaign, exposing these pretenders and helping the public make better food purchasing decisions.

Advocating organic as the real natural, the non-profit group Only Organic is on a mission to lift the veil of deception covering much of the natural products industry. All sorts of products labeled as "natural," explains the group, contain harmful toxins like chemical pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified (GM) ingredients like corn and soy. And regulatory authorities have yet to take action to protect the public from this blatant duplicity.

"Food labels that claim a food is 'natural' may not guarantee that food is good for you or for nature," notes the group. "FDA considers 'natural' food to mean 'nothing artificial or synthetic (including colors regardless of source) is included in, or has been added to, the product that would not normally be expected to be there.' But, federal regulators do not enforce the policy. And, many heavily processed foods containing 'unnatural' ingredients designed to make food look better or last longer carry the 'natural' label."

Many 'natural' dairy products made with milk from cows fed GMOs

Yogurt is one example of a health food item that, depending on the brand, may not actually be all that healthy. As you may recall, Whole Foods Market recently pulled the Chobani brand of Greek yogurt from its shelves because the milk used to make it appears to come from cows fed GM corn and soy, which is anything but natural. The same is true for other brands like Dannon and Yoplait, both of which are likely getting their milk from cows fed GMOs, not to mention adding processed sugar from GM sugar beets to their flavored varieties.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has actually filed a lawsuit against Chobani and a number of other "natural" brands for violating the law and deceiving consumers. Not only is this blatant mislabeling harming the organics industry, which is required to abide by enforceable standards for clean food production, but it is also tainting the reputations of other natural food producers that actually avoid chemical toxins and GMOs.

"The real threat to organic comes not from non-GMO claims but from 'natural' claims that confuse consumers into thinking foods made with GMOs -- and lots of other things you wouldn't find in nature -- are the same as organic food," explains a report by Only Organic's Gary Hirshberg. "In the case of organic, tough environmental and animal welfare standards are backed by the USDA and subject to inspections."

"By contrast, there is no official definition for 'natural' and companies routinely include GE ingredients in foods labeled as 'natural,'" Hirshberg adds.

Other 'all natural' pretenders include vegetable oils, snack chips and granola

Some other examples of this include so-called "all natural" vegetable oils, which more often than not are derived from GM soy, canola, corn, cottonseed and other unhealthy oils. Granola bars and snack chips from many "natural" brands are also often tainted with GM ingredients, including the infamous high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, which is typically derived from GM corn.

To learn more, be sure to check out Only Organic:

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