The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opened a public comment period on November 12 for those seeking to share their thoughts on the regulation of the word “natural” on food labels. This action came as a result of a series of petitions to the FDA prompted more insight into the term. The Packer states that three petitions asked FDA to define the term “natural” and one asked that the term be prohibited on food labels.
The FDA provides a series of prompts for comments. The organization is interested in knowing public thoughts on items such as:
- Should we define, through rulemaking, the term “natural?” Why or why not?
- Should we prohibit the term “natural” in food labeling? Why or why not?
- If we define the term “natural,” what types of food should be allowed to bear the term “natural?”
- Should only raw agricultural commodities be able to bear the term? Why or why not? Section 201(r) of the FD&C Act defines the term “raw agricultural commodity” as “any food in its raw or natural state, including all fruits that are washed, colored, or otherwise treated in their unpeeled natural form prior to marketing.”
At Organics Unlimited, we feel this is a conversation growers, distributors, retailers and consumers should be a part of, particularly those connected with the organic food industry.
“It’s clear that consumers are concerned with the foods they choose and the conversations surrounding defining the term ‘natural’ will prove to be just as significant as the ones surrounding the definition of ‘organic’,” said Mayra Velazquez de Leon, CEO of Organics Unlimited, in a statement for The Packer.
“Organics Unlimited believes there should be parameters around how to use ‘natural’ on a label,” said Velazquez de Leon. “It should signify that no artificial additives are within the food itself, such as dyes, but also that food production and manufacturing processes are held to the same standards, meaning no synthetic pesticides, pasteurization or other artificial growing methods can be used in a ‘natural’ product.”
Organics Unlimited believes consumers should know exactly what they are purchasing and ingesting. Our organic products adhere to these standards and feel that, in order to keep consumers safe, terms such as “natural” are important to define on food labeling.
We encourage our retailers and distributors to share their comments with the FDA as well. The commenting period runs through February 10. Stakeholders, including consumers and growers, can submit their comments for FDA review during this time. You can also share your thoughts with Organics Unlimited directly by emailing email@example.com.
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