Folks are dumb where I come from,
They ain't had any learning.
Still they're happy as can be
Doin' what comes naturally.
If you haven’t heard Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Betty Hutton, or Doris Day belt out the lyrics to the songs Irving Berlin wrote for Annie Get Your Gun, you’ve missed something special. This particular song, “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly,” is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the commonsense smarts of country folk who manage to get by just fine without a lot of structured schooling.
You don’t need a college degree to know that “natural” foods are likely to be tastier and more nutritious than unnatural ones, but you might need a college degree – and then some – to define “natural.”
Big brains at the Food and Drug Administration have been trying to pin down that seemingly simple concept for three years now, so people in the food product industry could know whether or not they can legally use the term “natural” in product labeling.
After all, if you want to be a real prig about it, nothing in a supermarket – nothing in a can or a box or a jar – is “natural.” Nothing is “natural” once it leaves the farm. In fact, nothing that comes from a farm is “natural,” strictly speaking, because it’s been cultivated and didn’t grow to maturity without human intervention.
Maybe “caveat emptor” should be our guiding principle. Let the buyer beware and think for himself. Or maybe folks are dumb where we come from and we need our superiors – wherever they come from – to hold our hands while shopping.
The surprising difficulty of defining “natural” may be why the FDA is still at it three years out. On the other hand, the ambiguity redounds to the benefit of litigious nitpickers like the suit-seeking attorneys at Nelson & Nelson in Belleville.
Prize plaintiff Shannah Burton has filed six class action lawsuits against manufacturers allegedly advertising products falsely.
Why not determine if products are “natural” before buying them (six times)? That might end all those “unnatural” lawsuits seeking a harvest of cash in legal fees.