Food producers and manufacturers, both large and small, want to increase their products' appeal to today’s discerning consumer. One way to market is at the point-of-sale, providing trusted and attractive labels that speak to the buyer’s health, environmental, moral, and social concerns. Who controls food certification labels, what do they mean, and do they deliver as promised?
Claims made on food packaging have been increasingly scrutinized, resulting in a precipitous rise in class action lawsuits against food manufacturers. Food activists and consumer advocacy groups view litigation as a means of protecting consumers from deceptive marketing and greenwashing by large food manufacturers. On the other hand, food manufacturers may view this as a form of extortion, using the threat of court costs and legal fees for out-of-court monetary settlements.
This week I took a dive into the rising price of food and the way Subway has run afoul of labeling. Then I read a piece on the tradeoff between taking a risk and an abundance of caution.
Plant-based meat alternatives are a rapidly growing market, bound to be accelerated by Beyond Meat’s recent introduction of a plant-based chicken alternative. A new study makes a nutritional comparison that significantly goes beyond the required Nutritional Facts panel.
The FDA is supposed to regulate absence claims. But when it comes to GMO absence claims, the FDA has done absolutely nothing. That may be about to change.
Food labels serve one purpose, and one purpose only: To provide nutritional information to consumers. The process by which a food is produced is not relevant to its nutritional content or safety profile. Therefore, products made using animal cell culture techniques absolutely should not require special labeling.
While we may well try to diet our way out of the rising incidence of obesity, calorie labeling does not appear to be particularly effective. That's because the Cochrane Library, which, as an organization, invented meta-analysis, released one on the effect of calorie labels on what we eat. Guess what? They have no impact.
It is immoral and reckless to leave drugs within the reach of children. That five kids were poisoned makes grandpa, who had a medical marijuana prescription, an irresponsible pothead.
We are being confronted with very important questions about the anti-GMO movement and Mr. Ruskin, an anti-GMO activist who operates the website U.S. Right to Know. Are anti-GMOers also anti-vaxxers?2 If not, then why do they take money from anti-vaxxers?
Reputations are funny – they take years to build but seconds to destroy. Cargill, a company that provides all manner of agricultural products and services, ruined its reputation with farmers and science writers by announcing a partnership with the thoroughly wretched Non-GMO Project, an anti-biotech organization.
Would interpretive food labels help people make better food choices? In New Zealand, at least, they did help those who used them the most. But overall — not so much.
New research supports using so-called traffic light labeling, in addition to numeric labels, to help consumers make healthier food selections. When both types of labels were combined on food items, consumers' choices were based less on taste than they had been when only numeric labels were used.