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Natural Food  

Michael Kideckel

[This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Food Studies. Please check back later for the full article.] The subject of scholarly research, marketing lawsuits, and governmental hearings, the question of what makes food natural or unnatural has spawned controversy for generations. A concept intertwined with what people choose to buy and eat, many people desire “natural food,” but all people struggle to define it. The term’s evolution reflects key connections between food and morality, alongside developments in food safety, regulation, media and advertising, and politics. The definition of natural food at any given moment illuminates much about the values, trends, and political and economic dynamics of that period.