Despite the fact the FDA has still yet to define or regulate the term "natural," 73 percent of American shoppers actively seek out the label—and food producers are paying attention.
For farmers like Wallace Greenwalt, owner of Cream Hill, one of the largest beef cattle feedlots in the north-east, going antibiotic and hormone-free is a matter of boosting business. Though the farm's previous owner, Paul Saenger, raised 1,000 head of cattle using artificial growth hormones, Greenwalt has embraced farming methods that justify the "natural" label to consumers. "The local buyers, they hear from their customers that they want antibiotic and hormone-free 'natural' cattle. And so that's what I'm happy to sell them," Greenwalt tells the BBC.
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Though the FDA has yet to assign stricter federal standards for the use of the label—though a petition demanding those standards has been signed over 250,000 times—typically, "natural" meat means that which is made without antibiotics or hormones. And, according to the BBC, market research has shown that the demand for natural and organic meat has risen steadily in recent years.