In Trouble Again, Naturally

The world of labels can be so confusing: “natural,” “organic,” “no preservatives,” and my favorite, “wholesome.” The meanings of these words range from regulated terminology to meaningless marketing fluff. And while it’s difficult enough for consumers to keep a handle on them, even the world’s largest retailer is having trouble.

According to BusinessWeek, Wisconsin officials are investigating Wal-Mart because of complaints that the megastore is labeling items as organic that aren’t. The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based small-farm advocacy group, has some damning photos on its website, evidence that Wal-Mart still needs to get up to speed on its natural-food products and terminology.

Especially since it seems to be trying to lure the upscale healthy consumer by opening up ersatz Whole Foods stores.

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