by guest blogger Jody Perrecone
While at the grocery store the other day, I saw many products on the shelves labeled “all natural.” I wondered how they could be labeled “all natural” since all of these products were processed foods and were in packaged in boxes, bags, and jars.
Looking into this further, with the exception of meat and poultry, I found the FDA does not regulate these words on food packaging. Without any regulation, “all natural” labeling is like the Wild West. I saw a bag of veggie crisps labeled “all natural.” These are potato chip-like snacks. Eight ingredients were listed on the ingredient list including beet powder. Cruising the grocery aisles, I saw bottled salad dressing with 14ingredients listed including lecithin - a processed soy product that keeps the dressing from separating. “All natural” was also on bottled green tea. The label said it had “no preservatives, no artificial flavor, no artificial color.” True, but it did list high fructose corn syrup and “natural flavors” on the ingredient label. Fruit chews are snacks that are similar to juju beans. They too are “all natural” and “made with real fruit juice.” One serving had the equivalent of nearly four teaspoons of sweeteners corn syrup and sugar in addition to carnauba wax. Made from leaves of the copernicia prunifera palm found only in Brazil, carnauba wax is also used in shoe polish and car wax but is food safe. The ingredient list of an “all natural” chicken flavored soup base didn’t contain any chicken, but did include maltodexrin and autolyzed yeast extract. A colorful breakfast cereal had “natural fruit flavors” advertised on the front of the box. The ingredient list had sugar as the first ingredient and no fruit mentioned. One cup of this cereal contains 3 teaspoons of sugar. Also listed were blue dye #2 and yellow dye #6 which studies have shown to cause tumors in animals. What a way to start the day!