In recent years, one bright spot in an otherwise lackluster market for packaged foods, beverages and consumer products has been merchandise promoted as “natural.”
Consumers, increasingly wary of products that are overly processed or full of manufactured chemicals, are paying premium prices for natural goods, from fruit juices and cereals to shampoos and baby wipes.
But as a spate of lawsuits and consumer advocacy efforts show, one person’s “natural” is another person’s methylisothiazolinone.
The problem, consumer groups and even some manufacturers say, is that there is no legal or regulatory definition of what “natural” is.
The debate in many ways echoes the tussling in the 1990s over the word “organic,” when foodmakers played fast and loose with the term and frustrated consumers tried to make sense of it all.
A number of more recent cases involve allegations that products labeled natural were misleading because they contained small amounts of materials linked to genetically modified organisms. In December, a New York federal court judge dismissed a lawsuit claiming that Dannon yogurt was falsely labeled natural because the cows might have been given genetically modified feed.
Read full, original post: Is It ‘Natural’? Consumers, and Lawyers, Want to Know