The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. a leading natural and organic products company, today called upon all consumer packaged goods companies to adopt truth in labeling standards. These standards would clearly identify product benefits without masking product negatives by simply addressing actual ingredient and health benefits on packaging in a clear and consistent manner. Recent controversy over front-of-package labeling programs and practices has inspired Hain Celestial to assist consumers in making informed purchase decisions.
"We have long been troubled by packaging practices that lead consumers to believe that a product is healthful, when natural ingredients are just a very small percentage of the product and are accompanied by detrimental ones," stated Irwin D. Simon, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. "For many years, we have advocated "A Healthy Way of Life(TM)" in which the enjoyment of food, including healthful snacking, can be managed without including harmful ingredients. It is time that the consumer packaged goods industry stops practices that create consumer confusion by front-labeling products as natural and healthful. Too often these products contain certain natural ingredients or nutrients, but then they also contain artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives as well as highly processed and refined ingredients, often only disclosed in the ingredient statement in small type on the package back. Misleading labeling also includes labeling a product as 'healthful' despite its containing high levels of sodium, fat and sugar. At Hain Celestial, our natural products contain only 100% natural ingredients, as we continuously work with our nutritionists to improve the nutritional quality of Hain Celestial products across our portfolio," he continued.
Hain Celestial has published a guide to understanding "The 'ABCs' of Natural", which is available at www.ahealthywayoflife.com. The Company calls to action all consumer packaged goods companies to adopt standards for natural and healthful products that use a similar model to the National Organic Program ("NOP") standards published by the United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA"). These standards require any product to be at least 95% organic before stating it is organic, and that the remaining ingredients to only be taken from the NOP approved list. Hain Celestial offers over 1,400 organic products that already meet these labeling requirements. Natural claims on products should follow suit.
"With 'natural' being the second most widely used claim on new products introduced in 2008 in the U.S. according to Mintel, and additional labeling programs being used to identify products with healthy attributes, it is time for companies to restrict the use of natural claims and accompany them with meaningful nutritional information that is consistent. We applaud the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (the "FDA") efforts to review these practices. However, we urge the FDA to not only consider sugar, sodium and fat claims, but to also look at the character of the products and their ingredients. In addition to the quality of ingredients, it is the overall labeling practices themselves which require scrutiny," concluded Irwin Simon.
The Hain Celestial Group
The Hain Celestial Group, headquartered in Melville, NY, is a leading natural and organic products company in North America and Europe. Hain Celestial participates in most natural categories with well-known brands that include Celestial Seasonings(R), Earth's Best(R), Terra(R), Garden of Eatin'(R), Health Valley(R), Arrowhead Mills(R), MaraNatha(R), SunSpire(R), DeBoles(R), Gluten Free Cafe(TM), Hain Pure Foods(R), Hollywood(R), Spectrum Naturals(R), Spectrum Essentials(R), Walnut Acres Organic(R), Imagine(R), Rice Dream(R), Soy Dream(R), Rosetto(R), Ethnic Gourmet(R), WestSoy(R), Yves Veggie Cuisine(R), Granose(R), Realeat(R), Linda McCartney(R), Daily Bread(TM), Lima(R), Natumi(R), JASON(R), Zia(R) Natural Skincare, Avalon Organics(R), Alba Botanica(R), Tushies(R) and TenderCare(R). Hain Celestial has been providing "A Healthy Way of Life(TM)" since 1993. For more information, visit www.hain-celestial.com.