In the supermarket arena, the word natural is the darling of the day. It turns out the word really hits the sweet spot with consumers, even outselling labeled “certified organic” products by more than 2 to 1! Because of this, food companies are rebranding everything to be “natural.” But do you REALLY know what's hiding in these natural foods?

What does it mean to be classified as one of natural foods? According to the FDA and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), products advertised as “natural” should not contain any synthetic or artificial ingredients, and in the case of meat products must be minimally processed.

However, these so called natural foods can still contain decidedly unnatural and health-compromising ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and modified food starch. Products labeled as a natural food can be produced using hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, genetic engineering, and, yes, sewage sludge! 

More than fifty million tons of treated sewage sludge removed from drains of homes, business, and industry are spread on farmlands in North Carolina alone every year. More than sixty thousand toxic substances and chemical compounds can be found in the sewage sludge that is being used to fertilize our foods!

To learn more about specific harmful ingredients, check out our interview with CNN's Sanjay Gupta!

Fresh is another word that may not mean what you think. While the FDA demands that “fresh” food is in a raw state and has not been frozen or subjected to any form of thermal processing or preservation, it does allow for all of the following unappealing processes to take place: waxing or coating, post-harvest pesticides, a mild chlorine or acid wash, or ionizing radiation (irradiation), not to exceed the maximum dose of 1 kiloGray, the equivalent of thirty-three million chest X-rays. Do you see how a diet of natural, fresh foods may still be damaging to your health?

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