A Food and Beverage Law Blog
Thursday, December 24, 2015

As many of you know, FDA has opened a docket to accept comments on whether and how it should define the term “natural” for food labeling purposes.  Today, FDA announced that it will be extending the comment period until May 10, 2016.   As outlined by FDA:

Although the FDA has not engaged in rulemaking to establish a formal definition for the term “natural,” we do have a longstanding policy concerning the use of “natural” in human food labeling. The FDA has considered the term “natural” to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food. However, this policy was not intended to address food production methods, such as the use of pesticides, nor did it explicitly address food processing or manufacturing methods, such as thermal technologies, pasteurization, or irradiation. The FDA also did not consider whether the term “natural” should describe any nutritional or other health benefit.

Specifically, the FDA asks for information and public comment on questions such 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.