The Nov-Dec issue of The Futurist has a news item “Downside of Demand for ‘Natural’ Food.” Beside the inclusion of downside in the headline, another clue that this item, or rather its authors, has an agenda is the use of quotes around the word natural. Granted, there is debate over just what natural means in terms of foods, but having been following the space for many years, I’ve learned to recognize when an “anti” piece is coming. Okay, still nothing earth-shattering, right?
Here’s what “grinds my gears.” The item notes that acetic acid is used as a preservative in items such as dressings and pickles. “However, when the amount of acetic acid used is too small, it actually ‘stresses’ the existing bacteria into increasing production of toxins.” Okay, so where is the evidence that a natural dressing or pickle would be using less acetic acid? Really? My sense is that it would not be using it at all, if it is natural. Granted, there are cases where the natural label is abused. But if that’s the case, the problem is not natural foods, but shady practices. Now in fairness to Lund University, where the research being reported on comes from, it could simply be a headline writer seeking to attract readers. We gravitate to provocative headlines. I’ll be taking on some of these practices and trying to clarify the hype in terms of issues relating to the future. Stay tuned. — Andy Hines