Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Why Food Reformers Have Mixed Feelings About Eco-Labels

Take a walk through the grocery story; the packages are talking to you, proclaiming their moral virtue, appealing to your ideals: organic, cage-free, fair trade.

When I dug into the world of eco-labels recently, I was surprised to find that some of the people who know these labels best are ambivalent about them.

Take Rebecca Thistlethwaite, for example. She has spent most of her life trying to build a better food system, one that's good for the environment and humane for animals. Right now, she directs the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, which helps young farmers figure out how to make a living at it.

"I would never do away with labels. I think farmers need to be able to tell their story," she says. The words "organic" or "pasture raised" can help tell that story.

Yet many of these labels also frustrate her. There's often a gap between what they seem to promise and what they actually deliver. Marketing fills that gap.

(For a list of some labels and what they really mean, you can jump to the bottom of this story.)

For instance, "free-range" eggs probably came from hens that spent most or all of their lives indoors. And then there's "non-GMO." - Read More

Why Food Reformers Have Mixed Feelings About Eco-Labels


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