Food labels need to be consistent, warns expert

27th May 2014 - Fine Cut

Following news that the US state of Vermont has become the first to require GM labelling for food, an expert has spoken out about how labels should be consistent across the states.

Carol Keiser - who owns and runs cattle-feeding operations in Kansas, Nebraska and Illinois - explains how she does not believe food labels should be governed by different rules depending on which US state you are in. She makes the analogy with a patchwork quilt, saying that while it might work for textiles, the concept certainly doesn't function when applied to national legislation.

Writing for the Washington Times, the board member for Truth About Trade & Technology asked: "Should food labels look different everywhere we go? Of course not. Americans need easy to read and understand standards that reveal pertinent information, no matter where we buy our food."

While the expert is indeed talking about our friends across the pond, it highlights a very real issue that EU member authorities might like to bear in mind when it comes to devising the rules and regulations to govern food labelling on this side of the Atlantic. 

Not only that, but with Vermont arguably undermining the current US labelling legislation, it may cause consumers to ask questions in other states about why such information is not being provided on their own food.

Ms Keiser explains how, while she depends on "accurate and reliable labels for nutritional information and assumes that labelled food products are safe", she does not want to be persuaded away from an item that is perfectly safe to eat.

If one product has additional information deemed to be important by one group, be they politicians or nutritional experts, it would logically follow that not having a single standard might call into question one or other system, only bringing about confusion and potentially making people question the reliability of purchases.

"Labels should educate, conveying reliable information rather than propaganda. We must honour their basic purpose, not let them become marketing devices for favoured groups," she concluded.

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