Culinate

The future of food labeling

The movement’s here to stay

By
January 17, 2013

California’s initiative to label genetically modified foods didn’t pass in the November elections, but that hasn’t stopped supporters from trying again — this time in Washington state. Not everyone is a fan of the idea; the Seattle Weekly, for example, disparaged the Washington campaign for its alarmist descriptions of GM foods. But it looks like the issue will make it onto the ballot in Washington.

Meanwhile, on January 1, India joined the list of countries (including Japan, Australia, and the European Union) that require GM labeling in some form – although critics noted that the label, a simple “GM,” doesn't say much.

Stephanie Fogel, a food-safety lawyer, thinks that the food-labeling movement will only continue to grow, comparing the movement to the campaign in the late 20th century against tobacco. Food producers, though, worry that too many labels could lead to consumer confusion — which is why labeling programs such as Animal Welfare Approved regularly try to explain just what all the labels mean.