|Food Labels Exposed:
Research by Consumer Reports reveals that almost 50% of consumers wrongly assume a “natural” label on meat, dairy products or eggs means animals were raised outdoors. In this month’s label example, we reveal the truth behind this highly misleading claim…
“A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. The label must explain the use of the term natural (such as: no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed).”
As defined by the USDA, the term applies only to how meat is processed after slaughter. Often found on meat and livestock product labels, this commonly-used term does not refer in any way to how animals are raised, so the farming system may have involved feedlot and confinement systems, tail docking and other mutilations, or the routine use of antibiotics, for example. No independent third party verification.
For more on what food labels mean–and don’t mean–get our FREE Food Labels Exposed smartphone app, available from the App Store or Google Play. Or download a PDF version of Food Labels Exposed here.