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Ingredient Standards & Guidelines

Summary of Prohibited Ingredients

Food Dietary Supplements Cosmetics
Artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners
Artificial colors (nail polish may be the exception)
Artificial colors (FD&C Colors)
Artificial colors (FD&C Colors)
Triclosan
Artificial flavors
Artificial flavors
Artificial sweeteners
High-fructose corn syrup
High-fructose corn syrup
Artificial flavors
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Kratom
Kratom
Partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs)
Delta-8, Delta-10 THC, THC isolate*
Delta-8, Delta-10 THC, THC isolate*
Kratom
Delta-8, Delta-10 THC, THC isolate*

*Section 8. THC Cannabinoids

Introduction

To assure the quality of the Natural Products Expo brand and to help preserve the integrity and meaning of the term “NATURAL,” New Hope Network has introduced a phased-in process that does not allow for specific artificial ingredients and/or ingredients deemed unsafe in foods, supplements and cosmetics promoted through advertisements or displayed or sampled at Natural Products Expos.

This effort represents our attempt to be responsive to the many comments, suggestions and concerns from industry manufacturers, distributors, brokers and retailers.

These Ingredient Standards & Guidelines are updated and refined over time, and exhibitors and advertisers will be are notified about any changes to these Ingredient Standards and Guidelines.

*Promotional materials and Literature may not contain prohibited products such as vapes or products containing prohibited ingredients.

As indicated in Section headings below, some ingredients fall under the heading of Standards and others under Guidelines.

STANDARDS: These are enforceable for all Expo exhibitors and advertisers. Ingredients listed under a Standards heading are prohibited.

GUIDELINES: These are recommendations not yet enforced. Ingredients listed under a Guidelines heading are allowable at this time, however, the use of ingredients listed as Acceptable is highly encouraged.

COMMENTS: Please submit all questions or comments to [email protected].

1. Sweeteners

Standards - These ingredients are prohibited.

The following sweeteners are artificial, do not occur in nature, and will not be allowed as ingredients in food/supplement products.

Ingredient E Number* Function Why is it Artificial
Ace-K
E950
High-intensity artificial sweetener
Short for acesulfame potassium
Acesulfame potassium
E950
High-intensity artificial sweetener
The potassium salt of a derivative of acetoacetic acid
Aspartame
E951
High-intensity artificial sweetener
A dipeptide made by esterification of aspartic acid and phenylalanine
Equal®
E951
High-intensity artificial sweetener
See aspartame
High-fructose corn syrup
-
Sweetener
-
Neotame
E951
High-intensity artificial sweetener
Chemical derivative of the peptides, aspartic acid and phenylalanine
Nutrasweet®
E951
High-intensity artificial sweetener
See aspartame
Saccharin
E954
High-intensity artificial sweetener
Saccharin is produced from purified, manufactured methyl anthranilate
Splenda®
E955
High-intensity artificial sweetener
See sucralose
Sucralose
E955
High-intensity artificial sweetener
Made from sugar by the chemical addition of chlorine atoms
Sunett®
E950
High-intensity artificial sweetener
See acesulfame potassium
Sweet 'N Low®
E954
High-intensity artificial sweetener
See saccharin

*E numbers are used in the European Union (EU) to designate additives that have been reviewed for safety and allowed in foods. They appear on the label of products sold in the EU.

Guidelines - These ingredients are allowable, however, use of ingredients listed as Acceptable below are encouraged.

Most polyol sweeteners (with the exception of erythritol) occur in nature, but in commercial practice they are obtained from hydrogenation of simple sugars to create the finished form. Therefore, these sweeteners, which are often used in low-carbohydrate, low-calorie or restricted-calorie products, should not be labeled as “natural.” There are few low-calorie, natural alternatives to these sweeteners. They may be described as chemically identical to the product that occurs in nature, but it is misleading to label them as “natural,” since hydrogenation is not a natural process.

Ingredient E Number* Function Why is it Artificial
GMO Sugar
-
Sweetener
Sugar made from genetically modified sugar beets
Isomalt
E954
Polyol sweetener
Made from hydrogenation
Hydrolyzed starch hydrolysates
-
Polyol sweetener
Made from hydrogenation
Lactitol
E966
Polyol sweetener
Made from hydrogenation
Mannitol
E421
Polyol sweetener
Made from hydrogenation
Maltitol
E965
Polyol sweetener
Made from hydrogenation
Sorbitol
E420
Polyol sweetener
Made from hydrogenation
Xylitol
E967
Polyol sweetener
Made from hydrogenation

The following natural sweeteners are available and compatible with natural foods and the natural and organic retail channel.

Acceptable natural sweeteners include:

  • Allulose†
  • Barley malt syrup 
  • Beet sugar† 
  • Cane sugar (vegetarians have concerns about sugar filtered through bone char) 
  • Dextrose*† 
  • Erythritol (polyol sweetener made from fermentation; available as certified organic) 
  • Evaporated cane juice 
  • Fructose*†
  • Fruit pastes (raisin, date) 
  • Glucose*† 
  • Honey 
  • Juice concentrates 
  • Lactose 
  • Maltodextrins*† 
  • Maltose 
  • Maple syrup 
  • Molasses 
  • Monk Fruit (Luo Han Guo)  
  • Rice syrup 
  • Stevia and steviosides 
  • Sucanat® 
  • Thaumatin 
  • Turbinado sugar 
  • Xylitol – with documentation ingredient is naturally sourced 

*Corn-based sweeteners are usually derived from genetically modified corn seed.

†Manufacturers should use non-GMO sources for these sweeteners.

2. Colorings

Standards - These ingredients are prohibited.

Natural foods should not contain any artificial colors. The FDA regulates the use of Food, Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) colors that are intensely colored compounds for use in foods. These are considered certifiable colors.

Ingredient E Number* Function Why is it Artificial
FD&C Blue 1
E133
Coloring
Synthetic pigment
FD&C Blue 2
E132
Coloring
Synthetic pigment
FD&C Green 3
E143
Coloring
Synthetic pigment
FD&C Red 40
E129
Coloring
Synthetic pigment
FD&C Red 3
E127
Coloring
Synthetic pigment
FD&C Yellow 5
E102
Coloring
Synthetic pigment
FD&C Yellow 6
E110
Coloring
Synthetic pigment

Guidelines - These ingredients are allowable, however, use of ingredients listed as Acceptable below are encouraged.

Some non-certifiable colors, even though derived from natural sources, such as caramels and synthetic beta-carotene, should not be used in foods labeled as “all natural”. Some caramel colorings are processed with sulfite and/or ammonia and should not be used in foods labeled as “all natural”. Oleoresins may use synthetic solvents for their production.

Ingredient E Number* Function Why is it Artificial
Beta-apo-8'-carotenal
E160e
Coloring
Synthetic
Beta carotene—natural identical
E160a
Coloring
Synthetic—food should not be labeled as "all-natural"
Caramel coloring, Classes II, III and IV
E150c,d
Coloring
Processed with ammonia and/or sulfites
Cochineal/carmine
E120
Coloring
Derived from the bodies of insects—should not be used in vegetarian products
Paprika oleoresin
-
Coloring
Synthetic solvents used in production
Titanium Dioxide
E171
Coloring

Acceptable natural colorings include:

  • Annatto extract 
  • Aronia (chokeberry) juice 
  • Beet juice†
  • Beta-carotene from carrots 
  • Black currant juice 
  • Carrot juice, purple/black 
  • Elderberry juice 
  • Grape juice 
  • Grape skin extract 
  • Lycopene 
  • Paprika 
  • Purple potato juice 
  • Red radish juice 
  • Red cabbage juice 
  • Riboflavin 
  • Saffron 
  • Turmeric

†Manufacturers should use non-GMO sources for these colorings.

3. Flavors and Flavor Enhancers

Standards - These ingredients are prohibited.

Natural foods should not contain any artificial flavorings. Any products labeled with artificial flavoring or natural and artificial flavoring are unacceptable. Many imported products may contain “nature-identical” flavorings, which are considered artificial in the United States. These are also not allowed. Allowed flavorings must be labeled as natural and must have certification from the flavor manufacturer that the flavoring is natural. It is recommended that the specification be reviewed and that all non-flavoring materials also should be natural as the FDA will certify flavorings as natural which contain synthetic non-flavoring ingredients.

Ingredient E Number* Function Why is it Artificial
Natural & artificial flavorings
-
Flavoring
Synthetic
Vanillin
-
Flavoring
Synthetic
Glutamates, including monosodium glutamate (MSG)
E620-E625
Flavor enhancer
Synthetic, added rather than naturally occurring
Natural Identical Flavoring
-
Flavoring
Synthetic in the US
Inosinates
E630-E633
Flavor enhancer
Synthetic
Guanylates
E626-E629
Flavor enhancer
Synthetic

Acceptable natural flavorings and flavor enhancers include:

  • Natural Flavors with no artificial non-flavoring ingredients 
  • Yeast† 
  • Salt
  • Vanillin – with documentation ingredient is naturally sourced

†Manufacturers should use non-GMO sources for flavors and flavor enhancers.

4. Preservatives

Standards - These ingredients are prohibited.

The following ingredients are not allowed in foods or dietary supplements:

Trans Fats – Primarily produced by hydrogenation which does not occur in nature

Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) – FDA no longer considers these generally recognized as safe (GRAS)

Guidelines - These ingredients are allowable, however, use of ingredients listed as Acceptable below are encouraged.

Natural foods should not contain any artificial preservatives. Microbiological preservatives are used in foods for microbiological stability and for color and flavor stability, such as preventing rancidity. Stability may be achieved using a combination of heat, low pH, lower moisture (or water activity) or other means.

Ingredient E Number* Function Why is it Artificial
Ascorbic acid
E300-E302
Preservative
Synthetic as available commercially; should not label products all-natural
Benzoates
E210-E213
Preservative
Synthetic
BHA/BHT (prohibited after EW24)
E320/E321
Preservative
Synthetic
EDTA (prohibited after EW24)
E385
Preservative
Synthetic
Malic acid
E296
Preservative
Should use L-version made from fermentation
Nitrates/nitrites
E250, E251
Preservative
Synthetic
Proprionates
E280-E283
Preservative
Synthetic
Propyl gallate
E310
Preservative
Synthetic
Sorbates
E200-E203
Preservative
Synthetic
Sulfites
E220-E226
Preservative
Synthetic
TBHQ (prohibited after EW24)
E319
Preservative
Synthetic
Titanium Dioxide
E171
Preservative

Acceptable natural preservatives include:

  • Acetates 
  • Celery juice 
  • Citrates†
  • Citric acid†
  • Mixed tocopherols†
  • Natamycin 
  • Nisin

†Manufacturers should use non-GMO sources for preservatives.

5. Gums, Thickeners and Emulsifiers

Guidelines - These ingredients are allowable, however, use of ingredients listed as Acceptable below are encouraged.

Natural foods should not contain any artificial gums, thickeners or emulsifiers. Gums and thickeners are used in foods to provide texture, increase viscosity and to help with dispersion and stability of ingredients within a food matrix. There are many chemically modified gums available that should not be used in natural foods. Emulsifiers are designed to help stability of oil/water matrices, such as in salad dressings. Many are derived from synthetic ingredients or sources.

Ingredient E Number* Function Why is it Artificial
Modified celluloses—ethyl, methyl, carboxy menthyl, hydroxypropyl, etc
E461-E468
Thickener
Synthetic
Bleached lecithin
E322
Emulsifier
Synthetic
Modified alginates—propyl, methyl, etc
E405
Thickener
Synthetic
Polysorbates (or sorbitan esters)
E432-E436; E491-E495
Emulsifier
Synthetic
Mono- and di-glycerides and their esters, such as DATEM (prohibited after EW24)
E471-E472f
Emulsifier
Synthetic, derived from hydrogenated oils and may contain artificial trans fats
Esters of fatty acids (prohibited after EW24)
E473-E479b
Emulsifier
Synthetic
Modified starches—corn, tapioca, etc.
E1413-E1451
Thickener
Synthetic
Steroyl lacylates
E481-E482
Emulsifier
Synthetic
Carrageenan
E407
Emulsifier

Acceptable natural gums and thickeners include:

  • Agar 
  • Arrowroot 
  • Carrageenan 
  • Cellulose† (unmodified) 
  • Gellan gum 
  • Guar gum 
  • Gum Arabic 
  • Konjac flour 
  • Kudzu 
  • Pectin†
  • Pectins† 
  • Lecithin† (unbleached) 
  • Locust bean gum 
  • Native starches†—corn, tapioca, potato, wheat 
  • Salts of alginic acid (sodium, potassium, calcium alginate) 
  • Tragacanth 
  • Xanthan gum

†Manufacturers should use Non-GMO sources for gums, thickeners, and emulsifiers.

6. Bread Ingredients and Dough Conditioners

Guidelines - These ingredients are allowable, however, use of ingredients listed as Acceptable below are encouraged.

Breads for the natural products industry should be made with unbleached flours and preferably with whole grain flours, wherever possible. In addition, there are many ingredients used in the baking industry that are synthetic and should not be used in natural products.

Ingredient E Number* Function Why is it Artificial
Bleached flour
-
Ingredient
Bleaching
Potassium bromate (prohibited after EW24)
-
Dough conditioner
Synthetic
Potassium iodate
-
Dough conditioner
Synthetic
Azodicarbonamide (prohibited after EW24)
E927b
Dough conditioner
Synthetic
Ascorbic acid
-
Stabilizer
Synthetic as available commercially; should not label products as all natural

Acceptable natural bread ingredients include:

  • Enzymes†
  • Unbleached flours

†Manufacturers should use Non-GMO sources for bread ingredients and dough conditioners.

7. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Definition

Products or substances/ingredients derived using the application of biotechnology* as defined in the New Hope lexicon. Pertains to plants, animals, fungi, microorganisms. 

Standards

Foods containing ingredients made with or sourced from genetically modified organisms or bioengineered ingredients may be acceptable for exhibit and advertisements, HOWEVER, they may not be labeled or promoted as “natural” or “all natural.” 

Guidelines

Products containing ingredients made with or sourced from genetically modified materials or bioengineered ingredients should include a statement of source for transparency.

8. THC Cannabinoids

Standards

Products may not contain more than 0.3% THC (delta-9). Products may not include THC isolate as an ingredient. Products may not be marketed for psychoactive effect. THC declarations intended to increase transparency or comply with state laws are permitted only on the information panel on the product packaging.

9a. Plant-Based

Definition

Foods with ingredients derived mostly from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, with no animal-derived ingredients.

Standards

Products containing animal-derived ingredients or nature-identical animal ingredients may not be labeled as “Plant-Based”. However, specific ingredients may be identified on the packaging as plant-based, for instance, “plant-based bacon” or “plant-based protein”, etc.

Guidelines

Products labeled as “Plant-based” may contain ingredients derived from non-plants sources such as fungi or algae. Fungi and algae, although not technically plants, may be considered ingredients of plant origin and may be counted as plant ingredients for purposes of these Standards*. Products labeled as “Plant-Based” should not contain synthetically derived ingredients. Products containing these types of ingredients should include a statement of source for transparency.

*A plant-based claim may be acceptable for products that contain primarily ingredients derived from fungi and algae so long as the product does not contain other prohibited ingredients as specified here. We do not encourage the use of a plant-based claim on products that contain primarily fungi- or algae-derived ingredients. We understand that some plant-based certifying agents include fungi and algae as ingredients of plant origin and that products containing primarily fungi or algae-derived ingredients could be certified plant-based when all other requirements for this certification are met. Based upon these Standards, New Hope Network reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any company or product for inclusion in its trade shows, digital platforms, and any of its publications or sponsored content/marketing programs.

9b. Vegan

Definition

Product contains no animal-derived ingredients in its production or supply chain including those sourced from or processed with the use of any animal-derived materials (e.g., sugar filtered with bone char), by-products, or derivatives, or genetic materials.

Standards

Ingredients that are bio-identical to animal derived nutrients (e.g., whey protein, collagen, gelatin) are excluded and may not be labeled as vegan. Vegan products and ingredients may not be tested on animals. 

Guidelines

Products labeled as vegan should not be produced in a facility that also processes animal-derived products to avoid cross-contamination.

10. Processing Aids & Other Inputs not intended for the product (Will be implemented as of EW24)

Definition

Substances, ingredients or other elements used during the processing or manufacture of a finished product that are not intentionally added into a product and would otherwise not be required to be included within the ingredients list on the product packaging. 

10.1 Veterinary medications

Guidelines

For products containing dairy ingredients, the source animals should not have been be treated with these medications. 

  • rBst
  • rBGH