In the last twenty years products bearing the term ‘natural’ have proliferated in the marketplace. Major food companies have made ‘natural’ claims often with a disclaimer that ‘no artificial preservatives or other such additives have been added’. In the 1970s, the Federal Trade Commission staff developed a two pronged standard encompassing the use of additives and ‘minimal processing’; it was not adopted and there is still no federal standard for the term. However, terms such as ‘natural’ and ‘minimal processing’ continue to be used to describe foods that, contrary to consumers’ expectations and the earlier proposal, are produced with complex processing technologies. As part of the federal legislative mandate to develop standards for production of organic foods, processing standards are also being proposed. It appears that groups developing these standards are not considering the inclusion of a ‘minimal processing’ prong, although there may be a need for this later. In this paper we have studied the attitudes and perceptions of professionals in the natural foods industry regarding the categorization of unit operations based on their level of acceptability for the production of foods containing organic ingredients. We conclude that such a categorization could be used as a basis for developing industry-specific processing guidelines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science