The word "natural" is not defined or directly regulated by the FDA, and there is no indication that the FDA will define the word “natural” in the foreseeable future. As a result, it is up to each company to determine how this term applies to their products and labels.
And therefore...consumers can’t rely on the term “natural” to describe products that do not have genetically modified organisms or other synthetic ingredients.
In a word...BIG BUCKS!!
OK that was two words, but who’s counting.
Many lawsuits have been brought against companies like General Mills, Heinz, Pepsi, Campbell Soup based on the use of terms like “100% Natural” and “All Natural” on the labels of products that contain GMOs and other synthetic ingredients, especially since 2011.
At Liz Lovely, we have an ethical commitment to produce decadent and delicious treats that are made from wholesome food ingredients. We have always strived to use ingredients free from chemical additives and genetically modified organisms.
We adhere to the spirit of natural through committing to the following core principles:
Despite our best and on-going efforts, we cannot purchase reasonably priced ingredients that are 100% free from genetically modified ingredients or trace amounts of synthetic ingredients. That is the state of the food supply in the United States. Consequently, we are in the process of removing the term "100% Natural" from our packaging to protect ourselves from legal action.
This change in our packaging does not in any way signify a change in our principles. In fact, we have a contractual obligation to work on removing even trace amounts of genetically modified organisms from the ingredients we use due to our enrollment in the Non-GMO Project (www.nongmoproject.org).
We use a small amount of Xanthan Gum in our gluten free cookies sourced from Bob's Red Mill, the leading gluten free ingredients company. We've been unable to develop a good cookie without it.
We use a trace amount of Mixed Tocopherols in our gluten free cookies. Tocopherols are a family of Vitamin E compounds naturally occurring in vegetable oils, nuts, fish and leafy green vegetables that have a natural ability to protect oils - such as the palm fruit oil used in Liz Lovely cookies - from oxidation. The tocopherols we use are derived from refined edible vegetable oils.
We used to be enrolled in the National Organic Program. In 2009, we began having trouble getting our hands on key organic ingredients from the suppliers we trust. In order to stay organic, we were forced to make compromises and buy from alternative suppliers, often to the detriment of product quality.
Then in 2010, it became necessary to switch from chocolate produced on shared equipment to 100% dairy free chocolate made on a dedicated dairy free production line. There is very little supply of 100% dairy free chocolate that is also organic, and the prices are significantly higher. High enough to raise the price of the cookies a lot.
In order to make the safest, highest quality product possible, we found it necessary in 2010 to leave the National Organic Program. While it's disappointing, it's also exciting to be able to consistently buy the ingredients that make the best cookies.