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US Autism & Asperger Association
November 1, 2012

Welcome to USAAA WeeklyNews, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorders.

Special Edition
Cereal Crimes
: Legal Difference between Organic and "Natural" Labels

By Charlotte Vallaeys, Cornucopia Institute

boy cerealFederal law requires that organic food products be produced in ways that promote ecological sustainability, without the toxic inputs and genetically engineered ingredients that are common in the conventional food system. Increasingly, these organic products are forced to compete with products that claim to be "natural."

61% of consumers believed that the "natural" claim implied or suggested the absence of genetically engineered food.

No legal requirements or restrictions exist for foods labeled "natural." The term, in many instances, constitutes meaningless marketing hype promoted by corporate interests seeking to cash in on the consumer's desire for food produced in a genuinely healthy and sustainable manner.

mother grocery aisleUnlike the organic label, no government agency, certification group or other independent entity defines the term "natural" on food packages or ensures that the claim has merit (other than meat, where the USDA has created some extremely modest requirements). Each corporation determines its own definition of the "natural" label.

"Children with higher urinary levels of organophosphate metabolites were more likely to meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD."
- Bouchard et al. Pediatrics (2010)

"Natural" generally is thought to mean "no artificial ingredients," including preservatives, but the farms and processing plants that produce ingredients for "natural" foods are not prohibited by law from using dangerous pesticides, genetically engineered crops, fumigants, solvents and toxic processing aids. These agricultural and manufacturing inputs are not required by law to be listed on ingredient labels.

The USDA found residues of [the pesticide] chlorpyrifos on 17.8% of corn grain samples and 14.5% of soy grain samples.

Full Story (pdf file)

Access to USAAA Newsletter Archive 2005 - 2012

Prop 37 Cheat Sheet: Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods

tomatoesAs consumers, we already eat (and have been eating for decades) genetically engineered crops such as corn and soy, as well as the products made from them. We just don't know when we're doing it. Prop 37 aims to change that by requiring a label on these products (you'll alternately hear them referred to as genetically modified organisms, or GMO's). Prop 37 would take the added step of prohibiting such products from being labeled "natural."

"More than 40 other nations currently require such labeling, including "most of Europe, Japan, and even China and India."

The text of the proposed law does include several exemptions, including foods that are certified organic, contain only small amounts of genetically engineered material, or are sold for immediate consumption (as in, at a restaurant). These exemptions are the source of complaints that Prop 37 serves certain special interests.

Full Story

"So now is the time for the final push to win the Right To Know Genetically Engineered Foods by simply labeling them like over 50 other countries around the world including Russia and China," says Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Access to USAAA Newsletter Archive 2005 - 2012


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In this issue:

Cereal Crimes: Legal Difference between Organic and "Natural" Labels

Prop 37 Cheat Sheet: Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods

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