Stricter Food Labels, How Effective Will They Be?
Filed Under: US, World | Posted: 10/06/2008 at 5:00PM
Comments | Region: United States
The world has been rocked by a wave of food contamination scandals.In China, it was the case of tainted dairy. In Mexico, it was tainted peppers. But it is not solely focused on other parts of the world.
Several parts of the United States have been affected. California has been affected because of tainted spinach. Nebraska has been affected because of the beef, particularly in Omaha.
The case of tainted beef may make someone think twice before getting a membership with Omaha Steaks.
As a person that enjoys steak and burgers, the thought saddens me.
In regards to the cases of tainted foods, new rules are set to be in place. This calls for new labels that tell consumers where such foods have originated from. It seems to be an effective measure.
According to the Food and Safety Center for Science in the Public Interest (FSCSPI), these new labels are a major step. This is because it will tell what countries that such food products come from. In theory, it is to quickly identify food from countries that are dealing with outbreaks of contamination.
However, this measure is not without its criticism. There are advocates that want bar codes on the labels. Through these bar codes, it will narrow down the source of the outbreaks: the farms.
But, there is also opposition to such a measure. Michael Pollan, who authored “In Defense of Food,” gives his criticism. According to Pollan, the use of such labels may cause more harm than good.
Even when the outbreak is no longer there, the fears of getting food poisoning are still present. As mentioned earlier China, Mexico, and the United States are suffering from the contamination scandals.
There’s still the fear factor. Hypothetically, use of such labels would turn off consumers from buying spinach from California, beef from Nebraska, etc. It would possibly inadvertently hurt various food industries let alone industries in specific states and countries.
Even when the outbreaks are contained, there is still the fear in the back of consumers’ minds.
Also, there are loopholes present. While food can be produced in one location, it can be processed and/or packaged in another. One example would be production of food in one state and packaging of food in another state. It can expand to countries as well.
Overall, the idea of stricter and more specified food labeling seems to be good in theory. However, there are strong criticisms and flaws present.
One can ask: Stricter food labels, will they really work?