Natural Definition

Americans gave their views on the “natural” term in the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2016 Food and Health Survey released Dec. 11. The Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to do the same.

The IFIC survey also revealed favorable views on protein, especially plant protein, and not-so-favorable views on artificial ingredients or preservatives.

When asked what the term natural means when applied to food, 29% said no preservatives or additives. Other top answers in the open-ended question were natural ingredients/straight from nature/whole foods at 19%, no artificial ingredients or flavors at 17%, no chemicals/hormones/pesticides/antibiotics at 14%, and no processing at 11%.

The FDA recently asked for public comment on such questions as whether it is appropriate to define the term “natural,” if so, how the agency should define “natural,” and how the agency should determine appropriate use of the term on food labels. The comment period ended May 10.