Does "Natural" Always Mean Safe and Healthy?
We see the term "natural" thrown around a lot lately. But what does it mean to your health or to a retailer's reputation? For example what would happen to the reputations of say Whole Foods or Sprouts Farmers Markets if it learned that a partner in its mission was using the term "natural" when its products were coming from industrially polluted waters? We aren't saying either of these retailers carry these products but if they do carry canned shellfish products by Crown Prince that claim to be "Natural from Managed Fisheries" or simply "natural" they might want to know about independent rests from the Chemical Toxin Working Group.
In fact, the levels of cadmium and lead were so high the group not only rated the "natural" products they tested as "must be illegal" but, acting on behalf of the state of California Attorney General's office, issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) for the following so-called "natural" products:
- Crown Prince Natural from Managed Fisheries Naturally Smoked Oysters (hand packed in pure olive oil) contained 38x the safety limit for lead exposure and almost 9x for cadmium.
- Crown Prince Natural Wild Caught Smoked Baby Clams (hand packed in pure olive oil) were 22x the safety limit.
- Crown Prince Natural from Managed Fisheries Naturally Smoked Oysters with Red Chili Peppers Mildly Spiced (hand packed in pure olive oil) were only 22x the lead safety limit and exceed cadmium by almost 10x.
Lead is toxic to the fetus; at exceptionally high concentrations in a food product the exposure can raise fetal blood lead levels by 1% or more, a level so high it is a marker for permanent neurological damage. The fetus absorbs almost 100% of the lead in a meal. Given this scenario, we wonder whether Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers' would risk the health of their shoppers or the integrity of their own brands.