A New York man has sued snackmaker Frito-Lay, claiming he was misled by the “Natural” and “made with all natural ingredients” claims on Frito Lay’s SunChips and Tostitos brand products.
In his proposed class-action lawsuit, the plaintiff maintains that he was duped into paying up to $0.10 more per ounce for a bag of the Natural chips.
The lawsuit is unlikely to have legs, as the word “natural” in food manufacturing translates literally to “nothing”. Natural is not a legally definable term, with the exception of meat, which, according to the USDA can only be labeled natural if it contains no artificial ingredients or added color and is only minimally processed.
The real beef behind the corn chips claim is and should be that the ingredients in Frito-Lay’s products are genetically modified. Which is not surprising, considering most corn in the US is genetically modified.
Many Americans are surprised to learn that they regularly consume genetically modified ingredients. If you have eaten a packaged, processed or fast food today – and unless you maintain a 100% organic foods diet – you have certainly ingested GMOs.
The majority of all soybean, corn and cotton crops planted in the US are now genetically modified. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, in 2011:
- 94% of US planted soybean is now genetically modified – ending up in your food supply as soybean oil
- 73-75% of US planted cotton is now genetically modified – ending up in your food supply as cottonseed oil
- 65-72% of US planted corn is now genetically modified – ending up in your food supply as high fructose corn syrup, animal feed for beef and corn oil
Theoretically, it is not far-fetched to claim genetically modified organisms are not natural. But with the very marked and rapid takeover of GM crops in the US, GMOs are unfortunately our new normal.