The word “natural” has been used in the food business for a long time, but its meaning is very vague. In general, “natural” food is thought to be free of synthetic chemicals, hormones, and other additives and preservatives. Technically a truly natural food would be one that is found in nature, like a carrot, and hasn’t been processed or altered in any way. Currently, the term “natural” has no legal definition, so food companies can use it however they want.

The only requirement for using the term “natural” is that the food cannot contain any artificial flavors or colors. Can it contain preservatives? Yes. Pesticides? Yes. Antibiotics? Yes. The term “natural” is so vague that it’s basically meaningless.

So why do food companies use the term “natural”?

Because they know that consumers equate natural with healthy, and they want to capitalize on that. In reality, there is no difference between “natural” and “conventional” foods when it comes to safety or nutrition.

If you were about to buy hotdogs that said “All natural meats” on the package, you might be surprised to learn that, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), this term is unregulated. “All natural meats” can contain anything from animals that were raised in humane, free-range conditions to those that were confined in tiny cages and given growth hormones and antibiotics.

In addition, the processing of meat can involve many synthetic chemicals, preservatives and other additives, so even if the animals were raised “naturally”, the hotdogs themselves are not “natural”. They are human made. Most foods that are human made are processed.

This does not mean that all processed foods are bad. The majority of foods we eat are processed in some way, and many of them are still healthy and nutritious. It’s important to read the ingredient label and nutrition facts panel to see what’s really in your food. Ingredients vary greatly between brands that seem similar. Just because a food is labeled “natural” doesn’t mean it’s automatically healthy or healthier than a competing brand.

Examples of healthy processed food products include:

  • -Whole grain breads and cereals: Whole grain breads and cereals are made with whole grains that have been milled into flour. These products are usually high in fiber and other nutrients.
  • -Yogurt: Yogurt is made by adding bacteria to milk, which causes the milk to ferment. This process makes the yogurt more nutritionally dense and easier to digest.
  • -Cheese: Cheese is made by adding bacteria to milk, which causes the milk to coagulate. This process makes the cheese more nutritionally dense and easier to digest.
  • -McLean Deli Meats: Our Turkey Bacon is made with Turkey, honey, sea salt, smoke. One slice of Turkey bacon is 40 calories with only 1.5g of total fat, and it packs in 5g of protein per slice.

The majority of McLean deli products are certified organic and all of our products are free from antibiotics and preservatives like sodium nitrite and cultured celery extracts. Most deli meats are made with conventionally raised animals and contain nitrites. So, even though the word “natural” might be on a deli product label, be sure to read the ingredients carefully, especially with pork products like bacon and ham. Learn more about deli meat, how it’s made, and how to choose the healthiest options.

In Canada, certain additives and preservatives are not allowed in certified organic foods. However, one ingredient that shouldn’t be allowed in organic bacon is celery extracts. Celery extracts are nitrites. Sodium nitrite is banned for use in organic deli meats, but celery extracts are still permitted. This preservative should be banned, even if the nitrites are derived from “natural” sources, aka, celery. The organic certification system is the best we have in Canada, but it’s always a good idea to check the ingredients on all packaged and processed foods. It’s a great way to learn what’s actually in your food.

For a product to have the Canadian organic stamp, it must meet certain requirements set out by the CFIA. Certified organic products have been verified to meet certain production and ingredient standards like being made from animals that were given an organic diet and raised without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.

When it comes to buying meat, the terms “grass-fed” and “free range” do have some meaning. Grass-fed cattle must eat a diet that is at least 99% grass. However, this doesn’t mean that the cattle are free to roam around in a pasture. They could still be confined to a small space and given very little room to move.

The term “free range” means that the animals have access to the outdoors. However, there are no standards for how much time the animals must spend outdoors or what kind of space they have to roam in.

The term “raised without antibiotics” (RWA) is not currently regulated in Canada. However, companies that claim their meat is RWA must be able to provide evidence to support this claim with documentation from the farmer or rancher.

The term “hormone-free” is also not regulated in Canada. However, the use of hormones in beef cattle is banned. The only exception is for cows that are used for dairy production. They may be given a synthetic hormone called recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to increase milk production, but certified organic milk does not contain this hormone.

The term “GMO-free” is not regulated in Canada. However, the use of GMOs is currently banned in organic products. The CFIA is working on developing a certification program for products that are made without the use of genetically modified ingredients. There are currently three types of GMOs that are allowed in Canada for human consumption: soy, canola, and corn. Do these need to be labeled GMO? The short answer is no.

In Canada, there is no legal requirement to label food products that contain GMOs. The Canadian government has said that GMOs are safe and that there is no need to label them. But, some companies have started to label their products as “GMO-free” in order to appeal to consumers who are concerned about this issue.

The CFIA defines organic as a production system that integrates cultural, biological, and mechanical practices to enhance ecological harmony. In other words, organic farmers work with nature, not against it. They avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and instead rely on natural methods to keep pests and diseases under control.

Organic farmers also strive to improve the quality of their soil by using organic matter like compost and manure. This helps to increase the soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients, which results in healthier plants. In addition, organic farmers rotate their crops, which helps to replenish the nutrients in the soil. Soil health helps to sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps to improve water quality by reducing the amount of chemical runoff from farms.

By choosing organic products, you are supporting farmers who are working to build a more sustainable and environmentally friendly food system. And this certification prevents the use of unhealthy additives and preservatives which are often found in processed foods.

In conclusion, the term “All Natural” is really just a marketing ploy that food manufacturers use to make their products sound healthier than they actually are, especially when promoting processed foods like deli meats. Next time you’re grocery shopping for “natural” bacon, ham or hotdogs, be sure to read the labels carefully.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.