Sarah Davis: Hi, I am Sarah Davis with the Institute of Food Technologists. Today we are talking about how to read Food Labels and now I am going to talk about the term Natural, that might be found on the food labels. Natural isn't currently well defined. Although, both the FDA and USDA has received petitions asking them to clarify when the term natural can be used on food labels.
Natural is a very timely topic right now, due to consumer preferences and product marketing. The FDA currently allows natural to be used on a food product when it's truthful and not misleading and when no added colors, artificial flavors or synthetic substances have been used in a product. Now natural foods differ from organic foods in that they haven't followed the rigorous National Organic Standards and so they can't be labeled as an Organic Product or use the USDA Organic Seal if they don't follow their standards. But they may be able to use Natural.
Now unfortunately, not all products that are natural, it doesn't mean that they are safe. Cyanide for example that's a natural product but I wouldn't consider it safe. So a good rule of thumb for consumers is to go back to the Ingredient List when you read that a product is natural. For example this is a 100% Pure & Natural Orange and Tangerine Juice and when I go to the Ingredient List I see that indeed it's a 100% pure pasteurized orange juice and tangerine juice. I see that nothing else has been added and so I can feel comfortable that this is truly a natural product. So a consumer really needs to read the Ingredient List. On some juices you might see filtered water if the juice is from concentrate or you might see Ascorbic Acid, which is Vitamin C and maybe added to help preserve the color of like an apple juice. Some people though have questioned whether the product is still natural even though things being added are natural themselves. Right now poultry that's being labeled 'All Natural' has gone into a little bit of debate because salt water is being injected into the chicken and other 'All Natural' ingredients to help it maintain it's juiciness and it's flavor. But some people question whether this is truly 'All Natural' and whether it can be labeled as such. So again, right now to keep in mind, until this is better defined by the FDA and USDA on food labels, I think it's good to read the Ingredient List and know exactly what's in a product, whether it says it's natural or not. So that's a little bit about natural foods and now we wrap up by discussion about reading food labels. I hope this is been informative for you and I want you to keep in mind that there are lots some great tools out there to help you lead a healthy life style and have a balanced diet.