There’s a great deal of confusion about the term “natural” when it comes to food and beverage marketing, as product developers have been given very little
guidance from federal authorities regarding its use. At best, the FDA disqualifies some ingredients from being called natural, as they have been deemed artificial or synthetic.
The meat industry is a step above many others, as USDA provides this definition as it pertains to meat: A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural.
As a scientist, I find it very confusing that marketers of uncured hot dogs will label them as natural, but meat manufacturers who inject a roast with a marinade based on ingredients derived from nature will stay away from the term. I have no desire to debate the term or its use, but I would like to provide some facts about the use of phosphates in meat products — fresh and processed, cooked and raw.