Naked Juice Company has been sued for false advertising
Naked Juice Company has been sued for false advertising

I have always known that a label or marketing phrase claiming that a food product is ‘natural’ has no meaning and certainly doesn’t mean a food that has no chemicals, genetically modified organisms (GMO), or otherwise nasty stuff. All you have to do is look at labels to see the chemicals, for example. Unfortunately, in the United States, you have to assume that everything with corn or soy in it has GMOs unless otherwise stated because informing consumers about GMOs is considered anti-agriculture to the government and their agribusiness allies. Those pesky consumers don’t need to know what is going into their bodies. So, we have to rely on the companies that make our foods to be honest.

Kashi Go Lean, full of GMO and pesticide goodness!
Kashi Go Lean, full of GMO and pesticide goodness!

In any case, I’ve actually been surprised that more foods don’t claim to be ‘natural.’ ‘Organic,’ while not necessarily always used truthfully and there are serious flaws with the US national organic certification program, actually does have at least some meaning. But, some foods that most would consider pretty nasty, like Vienna sausages, actually don’t have as much nastiness as you might expect as long as you realize that any part of the animal could be in them.

Recently, the maker of Naked Juice, advertised as ‘all natural’ and ‘non-GMO,’ has been sued for using GMOs and synthetic chemicals. Certainly, claiming a GMO containing product is non-GMO is plain lying. Saying it is ‘all natural’ is still pretty meaningless. Possibly more disturbing is The Cornucopia Instutite’s recent report that Kashi, Barbara’s Bakery, Peace Cereal and Whole Foods Market private label cereals, all advertised as natural, all contain 25-100% GMO grains. Yikes, and these are respected companies. ConAgra has been sued for using GMOs in their ‘natural’ Wesson vegetable oil.

Caveat Emptor, let the buyer beware.

Kashi may be the biggest con-artist out there. They pretend they are a small, environmentally and health conscious company. Yet, the Cornucopia Institute found lots of nice GMOs and pesticide residue in some of its products. They are also owned by Kellogg, the biggest cereal maker. The Kashi web site says nothing about being owned by Kellogg. Their packaging says nothing about being part of the Kellogg empire. Their advertising is pretty sickening if you know the truth about them. From their website Meet Us page:

We are a small (after 25 years, still fewer than 70 of us) band of passionate people who believe right down to our bones that everyone has the power to make positive changes in their lives. We think getting healthy starts with taking little steps, like choosing healthy all natural foods. Kashi is about embracing and living your best life.

What a joke. They have been owned by Kellogg since 2000. Go figure, you can’t trust anything these days. Kind of like all those “micro brewery” beers owned by Budweiser.

Perhaps the worst part of this kind of thing is that the ‘natural’ food companies like Kashi charge extra for the ‘goodness’ we are promised and essentially lie to us. I never could shop at Whole Foods because I can’t afford to, yet, in the case of their cereal, we are better off getting big brands for less at the Piggly Wiggly. In a world where it is difficult or impossible to get all or a significant proportion of your food locally, we have to trust the companies we buy food from, be it a producer or a grocery store. It is a shame we can’t always depend on that.

Read the entire Cornucopia Institute Report.

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5 Comments on ‘Natural’ doesn’t mean natural or organic or good

  1. Elizabeth Martin says:

    There is big money in greenwashing. You have to be extra vigilant and not trust anything unless you have done some research, and even then, it’s not always a guarantee. Just because you bought something at Whole Foods does not mean you can trust it, they are a big corporation just like any other, they have just suckered a particular niche market.

    There are lots of other reason besides “it’s better for me” to go organic as well. It’s just an all around common sense idea that companies like Monsanto and Syngenta are afraid of because they can’t patent heirloom vegetables (yet). We have to take back control of our food supply and stop allowing this experiment to take place.

  2. […] Food & Wine Weekly: This one I just found about when blogger Lori Russo used one of my stories (‘Natural’ doesn’t mean natural or organic or good) in her Food and Wine Weekly. Her blog is a news aggregator, so she looks for blog posts that […]

  3. […] Back in December, I reported about The Cornucopia Institute’s report on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticide residue in Kashi and other brands claiming to be “all natural,” etc. See ‘Natural’ doesn’t mean natural or organic or good.’ […]

  4. […] I am hoping that this technology will lead to an accurate and inexpensive consumer level test kit that will allow anyone to test the food they buy. If we had this test already, we would have discovered that “natural” brands like Kashi were full of GMOs before the scandal broke. See Kashi busted by mainstream press and ‘Natural’ doesn’t mean natural or organic or good. […]

  5. […] were not natural, including the lawsuit against PepsiCo, owner of Naked Juice. See “‘Natural’ doesn’t mean natural, organic, or good.” The problem with the misrepresentation of Naked Juice was that it has both GMOs and […]

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