What is the meaning of natural?
What is the meaning of 'natural' when you see it on a product label? When I buy a product - especially food - I look for the word natural, along with the word organic. These terms are important to me because I try to avoid chemicals and processed things as much as possible. This is an intentional choice to protect my health and the health of my loved ones. However, the term 'natural' isn't regulated much. According to the USDA website, the term natural as applied to food means:
From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is 'natural' because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.
When it comes to skin care or cosmetics, the USDA is even more vague:
Fundamentally, 'natural' means something that occurs in nature and is not made or caused by humankind. The simpler and more natural a product is, the more you can understand it and decide on whether it is safe to use or eat. To honor the belief that natural is safer than man-altered, we have created a line of foot care/skin care products created with all natural and mostly organic ingredients. Applying creams and lotions to your skin affects your health just as ingesting food does, so it is important to know what you are rubbing into your skin. To this end, our definition of natural is:
Ingredients used to make our products occur naturally in nature and are acquired from organic sources whenever possible. Our natural products are made from ingredients that do not cause cancer, allergies or hormone disorders in humans. Product ingredients are clearly labeled and may be researched in our product glossary.
This is our promise.
Thalia Oster, JD
Founder and COE (Chief of Everything)