Good Example Of Argumentative Essay On Food Labels And Their Use Of Word "Natural"

Type of paper: Argumentative Essay

Topic: Nature, Food, Business, Products, Genetics, Definition, GMO Food, Label

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/10


The word 'natural' refers to something made or caused by nature not by human beings, but when the word 'natural' is used for labeling food products, the meaning becomes ambiguous, because most often food products contain only artificial flavors and ingredients, and there are no natural extracts. This ambiguity has sparked a huge debate over the use of the word 'natural'. Particularly, in the absence of a definition of 'natural', it becomes all the more confusing to tell which food products labeled 'natural' are really natural. The nonbinding advisory opinion of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that a product labeled as 'natural' shows that it has no artificial flavors, colors or any synthetic substances. However, in practice, it has been found that foods labeled as 'natural' contain a lot of artificial ingredients and they are not 100% natural. It is wrong to mislead consumers by projecting a food containing artificial flavor, additives, and genetically modified ingredients as ‘natural’ (Rangan,

Definition is required for the word “natural”

A definition for the word 'natural' should be provided by FDA, just as the food products are labeled as 'organic'. So that consumers while purchasing a food product labeled as 'natural' know the attributes of 'natural', and do not get misled into buying a product having artificial ingredients. For example, Crystal Light Natural Lemonade is advertised as a natural product, but it has no lemon in its ingredients and has artificial lemon flavor added into it. There are other products such as Kashi Go Lean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble cereal, which is advertised as 'naturally sweetened', but has dried cane syrup, and both blueberries and cranberries are artificially sweetened with cane syrup (Lustig, Because of these reasons, it is essential that a definition must be there, marking the attributes of ‘natural’ products.
Opponents like Richard Williams (, a former FDA director for social sciences at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, completely disagree with the idea of providing a definition for 'natural' because of a variety of reasons. He proposes from the perspective of food science that it is difficult to define a food product as natural, as the food might have gone through different processes due to which it can no longer be considered as the product of the Earth. Due to these reasons, no solid definition for the word 'natural' can be made by the FDA. However, proper definition of the word 'natural' must be made by the organization, because in the absence of any definition, the word 'natural' deceives and confuses people. FDA has to consider that many Americans believe that 'natural' means absolutely a natural product of the Earth, with no artificial ingredients and genetically engineered ingredients. A survey conducted by Consumer Reports came up with the finding that two thirds of Americans assume that the word 'natural' on the label of a processed or packaged food means that it does not contain any artificial ingredients, pesticides, or genetically modified ingredients (Rangan, If the word ' natural' is found on the packaging of meat or poultry product, 70% Americans think that no growth hormones were used in the food of the animals, while 60% think that animals were not fed by any antibiotics or other drugs (Weise,
According to Hoewyk (, an associate professor at Coastal Carolina University, it is wrong to put genetically modified foods (GMOs) into the same category as food products containing artificial flavors and additives. He claims that it would be wrong to attach a label of unnatural to food products exposed to the process of mutagenesis because the process in which crops are exposed to mutagens, for better taste and increased yield, is also used for cultivation of organic foods. Not only Doug Van Hoewyk, but Richard Williams also claims that GMOs are perfectly safe, because almost every scientific institution has verified that eating GMOs is not harmful, and that farmers are also modifying foods for thousands of years. However, research shows that there are reasons why it is important not to categorize GMOs under the same category of ‘natural’. Many studies show that due to the prevalence of GMO foods in the market, many adults as well as children in the USA and Europe have turned allergic (Lendman, to peanuts and other foods. The confirmation made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the increasing number of cases of allergic reaction in the general population also supports the same fact. In 1996, a company called Pioneer Hi-Bred infused Brazil nuts into soybeans to improve the protein content with little consideration to the fact that some people are so allergic to these nuts that a single morsel can send them into a fatal anaphylactic shock (Hanlon 21). Thus, GMO foods contain allergens can be harmful for people susceptible to allergies, and it is wrong to label a food carrying genetically engineered ingredients as natural and safe.
Richard Williams and Doug Van Hoewyk might say that it is difficult to label a food according to some people, who are prone to allergies. They may say that these people can face the problem of anaphylactic shock anywhere in the world due to the presence of allergens in the air, and for that reason it would be foolish to say that the air containing allergens should be labeled as dangerous. However, GMO foods are harmful not only to allergic people. There is evidence that in order to make the business of milk production more profitable, big corporations like Monsanto inject protein hormones like rBGH to stimulate the pituitary glands of cows, so that the produced milk is more in amount. rBGH is a genetically engineered growth hormone that increases IGF-1, a powerful chemical hormone, which may cause prostate, colorectal, and breast cancer (Lendman, When the harm caused by genetically engineered organisms can affect all kinds of people, it is wrong to deceive customers with the label ‘natural’ on foods that are not safe to eat. People have the right to know that they are eating a genetically modified food and not a wholly natural food as the misleading label claims.

Concluding Remarks

In conclusion, the word ‘natural’ has been frequently used to label food products in order to impress the consumers, but most often the food products sold in the market as ‘natural’ contain not only artificial colors, additives and flavors, but they also carry genetically engineered organisms or ingredients. Despite the sayings of opponents that it is difficult to provide a definition for the word ‘natural’, and GMOs are safe products; it is wrong to sell products as something they are not. If a food product is infused with artificial colors and flavors, it should not be marketed as natural. If a food contains genetically modified organisms, it should not be marketed as natural, because in that case the meaning of ‘natural’ is warped. In the absence of an explicit definition of the word ‘natural’, it is frequently misused by food-product companies. It is the time when FDA has to define the word ‘natural’, marking the attributes of ‘natural’ products, so that there would be no place for confusion.

Work Cited

Hanlon, Michael. "Designer Genes/the Case against Gmo’s." NEWSLETTER (2012). Print.
Hoewyk, Doug Van. "Calling G.M.O.’S ‘Unnatural’ Suggests They Are Unhealthy". The New York Times. 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2015 <>
Lendman, Stephen. "Monsanto’s GMO Killer Seeds: Profits Above Human Health". Global Research. 26 May 2013. Web. 19 Feb. 2015 <>
Lustig, Robert. “F.D.A. Must Define, and Enforce, the Term “Natural””. The New York Times. 11 Nov. 2014. Web. 06 Mar. 2015 <>
Rangan, Urvashi. “Ban ‘Natural’ as a Marketing Label on Foods”. The New York Times. 11 Nov. 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2015 <>
Weise, Elizabeth. "66% of consumers wrongly think "natural" means something". USA Today. 17 Jun. 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2015 <>
Williams, Richard. "Defining ‘Natural’ Is a Waste of F.D.A. Resources". The New York Times. 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2015 <>

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"Good Example Of Argumentative Essay On Food Labels And Their Use Of Word "Natural"," Free Essay Examples -, 10-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15-Jun-2024].
Good Example Of Argumentative Essay On Food Labels And Their Use Of Word "Natural". Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 10, 2020. Accessed June 15, 2024.

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