Defining “All Natural”

Posted: January 7, 2013 in Genetically modified organisms

Do we really need to go to the Supreme Court to define “All Natural?”

I keep spinning this around and around in my head.  When did the word “natural” become so difficult to understand?  Look it up in the Webster’s and you’ll find a lengthy description.

nat ural adjective \’na-chǝ-rǝl, nach-rǝl\

1         based on an inherent sense of right and wrong <natural justice>

2         a: being in accordance with or determined by nature
b: having or constituting a classification based on features existing in nature

3         a(1): begotten as distinguished from adopted; also:  legitimate (2): being a relation by actual consanguinity as distinguished from adoption <natural parents>

4         having an essential relation with someone or something:  following from the nature of the one in question <his guilt is a natural deduction from the evidence>

5         implanted or being as if implanted by nature:  seemingly inborn <a natural talent for art>

6         of or relating to nature as an object of study and research

7         having a specified character by nature <a natural athlete>

8         a: occurring in conformity with the ordinary course of nature: not marvelous or supernatural <natural causes>
b: formulated by human reason alone rather than revelation <natural religion> <natural rights>
c: having a normal or usual character <events followed their natural course>

9         : possessing or exhibiting the higher qualities (as kindliness and affection) of human nature <a noble…brother…ever most kind and natural – Shakespeare>

10     a: growing without human care; also: not cultivated <natural prairie unbroken by the plow>
b: existing in or produced by nature : not artificial <natural turf> <natural curiosities>
c: related to or being natural food

11     a: being in a state of nature without spiritual enlightenment : unregenerate <natural man>
b: living in or as if in a state of nature untouched by the influences of civilization and society

12     a: having a physical or real existence as contrasted with one that is spiritual, intellectual, or fictitious <a corporation is a legal but not a natural person>
b: of, relating to, or operating in the physical as opposed to the spiritual world <natural laws describe phenomena of the physical universe>

13     a: having a form or appearance found in nature
b: marked by easy simplicity and freedom from artificiality, affectation, or constraint
c: having a form or appearance found in nature

14     a: having neither flats nor sharps <the natural scale of C major>
b: being neither sharp nor flat
c: having the pitch modified by the natural sign

15     of an off-white or beige color

How can such a little adjective strike so much controversy?  Do we really need the Supreme Court or the FDA to provide this definition to us?  Shouldn’t the companies embroiled in the numerous lawsuits for misleading and false advertising just man up on these party fouls?!

Let’s take a closer look at the most potent parts of this word’s definition:  “8a: occurring in conformity with the ordinary course of nature: not marvelous or supernatural.”  Dear Naked Juice, aka PEPSICO, I disagree with your use of “natural” to include Fibersol®-2, Niacinamide, Cyanocobalamin, and Calcium pantothenate in your fruit smoothie drinks.  (Read the lawsuit details here.) The fact to keep in mind here, is that these chemicals are already federally recognized as synthetic substances!

This may be naked, but it's certainly not honest!

This may be naked, but it’s certainly not honest!

Enter definition line, 10b and c: “existing in or produced by nature: not artificial; related to or being natural food.”   Hello Kashi, also known as Kellogg’s, we’re not very happy about your choice to market your, “7 Whole Grains on a Mission™,” or your, “2011 REAL Tour,” with phude!  It’s too bad that your Real Food Decoder couldn’t help consumers to better understand the numerous chemical compounds, synthetic substances, and GMOs present within your series of products.  I looked up many of the unnatural ingredients that this lawsuit accuses you of including in your product line-up:  Calcium caseinate, Potassium chloride, Sodium molybdate, and Sodium selenite.  Conveniently they’re not included in your ingredient decoder…clearly you couldn’t give these substances a “thumbs up” on your website when they’re derived from a variety of hazardous synthetic substances, by-products of uranium mining (That’s right, as cited by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, “Molybdenum salts are by-products of uranium mining and can be found in fertilizers for leguminous crops.” ), and many of which have not been generally recognized as safe by the FDA – unless you count Sodium selenite, a hazardous substance that has only been approved for use as an animal food additive! (Read all about this class action suit here.)

This just goes to prove that we can no longer remain idle and trusting that food producers will do what’s right and honest.  Even certified organic foods are not without peril.  One of the most trusted brands of organic baby food and rice cereal, Earth’s Best Organic is currently under the gun for including Martek Bioscience’s GMOs:  Life’s DHA and Life’s ARA.  I used to feed their Happy Bellies to my son!  I’m more than a little outraged over this and believe they should immediately lose their organic status on offending products!

The list of offenders goes on and on.  If you’re really curious, then take a look at this article provided by the American Bar Association.  When will this madness stop?  When did we lose the right to know what we’re feeding our children?!

I will end my rant by returning to the first part of natural’s definition, “1 based on an inherent sense of right and wrong <natural justice>.”  Perhaps this the core issue of this matter.  False advertising is misleading and malicious to, We the People.  These companies should be required to correct the erroneous statements and suffer the consequences of their wrongs.  Perhaps, the trick for Big Food is in the addition of the extra word “all” to their phraseology.  Sadly there is no definition available for “all natural” and it may very well take the Supreme Court to explain the implicit meaning of this word to the corporate giants.

all natural

Have a marvelous muckraking Monday,

Shel

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