US trade body says need to define ‘natural’ is now urgent

A new US trade organisation has been set up with a specific mission to create a practical definition of ‘natural’.

The Organic and Natural Health Association (ONHA), launched officially at this week’s SupplySide West show, says it has come together to “seize hold of the issue with a definition and certification programme”.

OHNA director, Karen Howard, plans to hold meetings with industry stakeholders and promises a “transparent and open process”. OHNA plans to apply its natural certification to food, cosmetics, personal care and pet products.

The initiative comes as use of ‘natural’ is under increasing scrutiny of corporate lawyers. There are also fears that the US Congress may step in to create a definition of ‘natural’ that would include GMOs within the definition.

Other US industry and consumer organisations have tried to develop a working definition of ‘natural’, but with only limited success. But Howard believes a consensus is more achievable now. And she says there is an added urgency to the issue: “The word ‘natural’ is under assault,” she says, insisting that inaction will leave industry vulnerable. “We are really out to say, OK, enough is enough.”