The Norman Transcript

Community News Network

November 20, 2012

Slate: Government shouldn't regulate which foods are 'natural'

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers are made from flour, oil, milk, and salt, and not much else. The cheddar variety is "baked with real cheese" and contains no artificial preservatives. But are these crucian crackers really "natural," as the package claims? Or are they fishy Frankenfoods?

Last week a woman in Colorado sued the Pepperidge farmers over what she said were bogus claims about their Goldfish. The company had "mistakenly or misleadingly represented that its Cheddar Goldfish crackers are 'Natural,' " she complained in her complaint, "when it fact, they are not." Since the soybean oil used in the snacks is made from genetically modified crops, and since those crops "contain genes and/or DNA that would not normally be in them," she concluded that the Goldfish "are thus unnatural."

The lawsuit came just days after the defeat of California's Proposition 37, which would have enshrined the reasoning behind her complaint into law. Prop. 37 said that any foodstuff made with genetically modified organisms should be identified as such with a cautionary phrase plastered on its packaging, and also that it could not be marketed as "natural." If the law had passed, it would have made producers add one phrase and take away another. It would have legislated what food was and also what it wasn't.

But the debate surrounding Prop. 37 showed how slippery these sorts of rules can be. The proposition's wording made it sound like "natural" claims would have been banned not just from GMOs, but from any processed food at all. A nonpartisan analysis said the prohibition could be applied to any edible that had been canned, smoked, pressed, cooked, frozen, dried, fermented, or milled. No more natural sun-dried raisins. No more natural sauerkraut.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014