October 14, 2011

What’s in a label? Apparently not much when it comes to the word ‘natural’. A new report says many cereals labeled as ‘natural’ actually contain pesticides and genetically modified ingredients. The report by the non-profit Cornucopia Institute claims some of the nation’s major cereal makers are using deceptive marketing practices to sell ‘natural’ cereals that are chemical engineered or contain what the group calls toxic agrichemicals. Cornucopia says there are no restrictions or regulations for foods labeled as ‘natural’. However, the certified USDA organic seal requires that food be produced without fertilizers, pesticides or genetically modified ingredients.

The Cornucopia report claims products labeled as ‘natural’ are often priced higher than equivalent organic products. It also suggests that some companies are taking advantage of consumer confusion and lack of labeling laws. Cornucopia also published a Cereal Scorecard to help consumers support organic farmers and find cereals without genetically engineered ingredients.

The report gives examples of cereals that claim to be natural but are filled with unnatural ingredients. Cornucopia says 100 percent of the soy used in Kashi brand cereals was genetically modified. Whole Foods 365 brand Corn Flakes was found to contain over 50 percent genetically modified corn.