According to a recent article in the newspaper, the FDA has opened a public comment site in response to Congress’ insistence that it come up with criteria for labeling a so-called natural food. This is what I wrote:

The question is should the FDA attempt to label food as natural or define natural. For me defining natural is easy. All one has to do is contrast it with its opposite, which is artificial. Any plant or animal that has not been subject to artificial (human-induced) manipulation or selection is natural. That would include animals and plants harvested directly from the wild. Since almost all of our agricultural plants and animals grown for food have been the product of artificial selection for thousands of years, none of those can be called natural. Artificial is not natural. All the fuss over how the artificialness occurred is meaningless. To pass the straight-face test, the FDA, or anyone else, can label as natural only those foods harvested directly from the wild.

So unless it came directly from the wild, ignore the label “natural” because unless it is a product of natural selection it must be a product of artificial selection, and to paraphrase what Charles Darwin said more than 150 years ago, artificial ain’t natural.

Jim Nelson


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