In the age of all-organic-everything foodie-ism, the policing of food labels continues to be a major problem, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. Though essential in documenting the various details of food origin, hundreds of eco-labels are also misleading customer. Consumer Reports’ director of consumer safety Urvashi Rangan found “few standards, little oversight and a lot of misinformation exist for the growing array of labels.”
Labels like USDA organic certification must adhere to federal standards. Yet, many companies adhere to “non-government standards and third-party certification, and may include site visits from independent auditors who evaluate whether a given farm or company has earned the label.”
This doesn’t cover problems like labels with minimal to no standards. As Rangan concludes, “many labels lack any oversight.” As a result of these issues, we have on our hands “a credibility problem [that] risk rendering all labels meaningless and diluting demand for sustainably produced goods.”
Just last week, a proposition that would have introduced a new food label protocol was rejected. Out of all the propositions on the recent ballot in California, it was Prop. 37 that garnered the most attention, even outside of the state. If passed, the proposition would have meant the required labeling of genetically modified foods.
Backed by notable names like Alice Waters and Mario Batali, it nevertheless failed to capture the majority vote in Cali last week. Still the debate isn’t over as supporters look for other ways to add a measure on GMO labeling.
[via Bloomberg Businessweek]