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Kudos to Ben & Jerry's for nixing 'natural' on labels

By taking "all-natural" off some of its ice cream labels, Ben & Jerry's did the right thing. Anyone in the naturals industry knows that corn syrup and hydrogenated oils are hardly natural.

The company's action came in response to a nasty letter last month from the Center for Science in the Public Interest to Ben & Jerry's parent company Unilever.

It's interesting to note here though that CSPI doesn't seem to be having much effect on the thousands of companies slapping an "all-natural" label on products that contain exactly the opposite. In the famous ice cream maker's defense, at least the products contain free range eggs, hormone-free milk and no artificial colors.

This episode begs the question: When will the Food and Drug Administration impose some form of legislation defining what natural means and when manufacturers can use it? Consumer research surprisingly shows that shoppers equate 'natural' as being healthier and more eco-friendly than 'organic'. The sooner we can begin to educate consumers on this glaring misconception, the better.

One thing is for sure, if the FDA mandates that 'natural' actually mean just that, there will be nary a conventional manufacturer not running for a label change. I say, bring-it-on.

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