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.
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.
Tags: Barbara's Bakery, ConAgra, Cornucopia Institute, false advertising, genetically engineered crop, genetically engineered food, genetically modified organisms, GMO, Go Lean, Kashi, Kellogg, Naked Juice, natural, organic, Peace Cereal, pesticide, sustainable, sustainable agriculture, vegetable oil, Wesson, Whole Foods