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What does the term natural on food labels mean?

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

The term natural written on a food label indicates that a product has no artificial ingredients or added color and that there is minimal processing. This term can only be used for meat and poultry and must indicate exactly the use of the term. For example if the product contains no added colorings. To get the most information, check the nutrition facts panel and the ingredients list.

Use of the term "natural" is not permitted in the ingredient list, with the exception of the phrase "natural flavorings." The Food and Drug Administration requires "natural" to be used in a manner that is truthful and not misleading; the product cannot contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.