I’ve learned not to be fooled by the word “Natural” printed on food packages in grocery stores. This word has been used in ways that are very misleading. When I think of the word “natural”, I think of purity, goodness, safe, simple, and untouched by anything considered harmful. But that’s not always the case when it comes to food and the way the food industry uses this word.
Consumers’ expectations for access to good and healthy food are growing. It’s good to see “Natural & Organic” sections throughout grocery stores to make it a little easier to find good food. But promoting these two words as if they’re equal is just wrong. If a package says “Natural” and the word “Organic” is nowhere to be found, then it’s possible and even likely that the product was made from ingredients that were treated with some kind of pesticide, herbicide and/or hormones, and manufactured with heavily processed ingredients, and then preserved with toxic chemicals.
Many years ago, I took a continuing education class about health and nutrition. What I remember most was the teacher emphasizing that we shouldn’t buy anything that has more than five ingredients (he only bought products with no more than three ingredients), and to be sure that we recognize the words and are able to pronounce them.
I’m dreaming of a day when organic food in grocery stores is the norm, that the word “Natural” is not used any longer (cyanide is natural and is contained naturally in apple seeds…so the word “Natural” doesn’t always mean a good thing), and that the small areas that were once reserved for healthier food products will be labeled “Toxic” and “Dangerous” for the lingering products that continue to be manufactured with poison.