While it is true that there is no official, US government regulated definition for the term natural pertaining to the natural products industry, the FDA refers to natural ingredients as "ingredients extracted directly from plants or animal products as opposed to being produced synthetically."
The key word there is, "extracted directly". In the case of some ingredients, it's easy to see that they fit easily into this definition. But what about raw materials that need to undergo some processing or chemical reaction in order to extract the ingredient from the natural raw material that is the source?
Even distilling aromatic plants to produce essential oils sometimes results in the creation of chemicals that didn't exist in the raw material, but which are created by the actual distillation process alone.
The "Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients" says a natural product is defined as a "product that is derived from plant, animal or microbial sources, primarily through physical processing, sometimes facilitated by simple chemical reactions such as acidification, basification, ion exchange, hydrolysis, and salt formation as well as microbial fermentation."
In the early '80s the FTC came up with a great definition for Natural – never adopted. They said that an ingredient may be called "natural" only if it contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients and has had no more processing than something which could be made in a household kitchen. Click here for more details...
The USDA has a legal definition for "natural", but it applies only to meat and poultry; "those products carrying the “natural” claim must not contain any artificial flavoring, color ingredients, chemical preservatives, or artificial or synthetic ingredients, and are only “minimally processed” defined by USDA as a process that does not fundamentally alter the raw product."
The USDA National Organic Program defines non-synthetic as "a substance that is derived from mineral, plant, or animal matter and does not undergo a synthetic process". They define a synthetic as "a substance that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral sources, except that such term shall not apply to substances created by naturally occurring biological processes."
Minimal Processing means the ingredient has had no more processing than something which could be made in a household kitchen, stillroom, on a farm, or vineyard. It doesn't mean they have to actually be made in those settings, but that they would require no more equipment or technology than that which could be employed in those settings. Simple Extraction Methods/Simple Chemical Reactions include cleaning, cold pressing, dehydration, desiccation, drying, evaporation, filtering, grinding, infusing [water or natural alcohol], & steam or water distilling.
NATURAL INGREDIENT CRITERIA
Natural Ingredients include plant, animal, mineral or microbial ingredients...
- Present in or produced by nature
- Produced using minimal physical processing
- Directly extracted using simple methods, simple chemical reactions or resulting from naturally occurring biological processes
Natural ingredients are...
- Grown, harvested, raised and processed in an ecological manner
- Not produced synthetically
- Free of all petrochemicals
- Not extracted or processed using petrochemicals
- Not extracted or processed using anything other than natural ingredients as solvents
- Not exposed to irradiation
- Not genetically engineered & do not contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
Natural ingredients do...
- Not contain synthetic ingredients
- Not contain artificial ingredients including colors or flavoring
- Not contain synthetic chemical preservatives
While we uphold the USDA and FDA rules as the foundation of the food industry, most of our production standards go above and beyond government regulations. We ensure that the products we produce are the safe and healthy while fully complying with the protocols and definitions of all-natural ingredients. Our focus is to offer culinary wonders that your family will truly enjoy. In addition to being all-natural, majority of our desserts are kosher certified, trans-fat and gluten free.