When Natural is Really Just Mostly Natural

April 1st, 2013

What makes something 100% natural? How about 99% natural? Though there is no legal definition for “natural” in the U.S., the FDA has issued an opinion on the appropriate use of the term. The FDA says that it . . .

. . . has considered “natural” to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including colors regardless of source) is included in, or has been added to, the product that would not normally be expected to be there. For example, the addition of beet juice to lemonade to make it pink would preclude the product being called “natural.”

This loose definition of natural leads to some pretty loopy marketing claims. Here are five products we found that were advertised as being natural, except for that last two percent.

Cooling Body Butter

Cooling Body Butter

This body butter from Yes To Cucumbers is listed as a “98% natural product,” which leaves one wondering what’s in the other two percent. 

Swanson Facial Cream

Swanson Facial Cream

Swanson’s Hidrox Facial Cream is also listed as being 98% natural.

Dragonfly Recipe

Dragonfly Recipe

One can only assume that Dragonfly Recipe contains anywhere between 2-4% unnatural products.

Natural Clean

Natural Clean

Natural Clean, which is very big on the natural thing, lists itself as 99% natural on the bottle, but 99.9% natural on their site. So which is it?

Johnson’s Natural

Johnson’s Natural

Johnson’s Natural should perhaps be called Johnson’s 98-99% Natural.

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