Lately we have noticed that my son wheezes if he has anything with "natural flavor" even organic products. I'm not having much luck figuring out what "natural flavor" is. It appears on gf products, like Naked Juices, and the most recent offender is some chips from Trader Joe's. Just another thing to look out for for us, just curious what others knew.
anyone else react to "natural flavor"
Alas, "natural flavor" can be darn near anything, as long as it's not synthetic. It's basically what they put on the label so they're not giving away they're proprietary recipes, but there are certain items that have to be listed clearly on the label (meat, common allergens, etc), so you know it's not those.
Maybe there's a certain spice or fruit your son is sensitive to. Maybe some kind of salicylate? Trying to remember if those ever cause breathing problems.
The difference between "natural" and "artificial" flavors is semantic. I think it was "Fast Food Nation" (????) that mentioned that they can come from essentially the same sources, but (I'm making this exact example up) a walnut flavor extracted from banana peel would be "artificial" but "banana" flavor from a banana would be "natural".
But that's beside the point. My niece used to have worse reactions to "strawberry flavor" than she did to strawberries themselves. "Natural flavor" could be any of that, but they don't have to divulge the exact ingredients.
I suspect it's what Sweet Silver mentioned (where did the quote post button go?), that it's the concentration of whatever it is, like strawberry flavor vs a real strawberry. We don't eat a lot of processed foods, but it's a hassle to eliminate even more "fun foods" for him, like the occasional juice or chips because of something that probably doesn't need to be in there anyway. Oh well...