The Council for Agricultural Science & Technology (CAST) commissioned an Issue Paper, “Process Labeling of Food: Consumer Behavior, the Agricultural Sector, and Policy Recommendations”. CBEAR co-Director, Dr. Kent Messer chaired the task force selected to write this issue paper, and was joined by Shawna Bligh (Evans & Dixon LLC), Marco Costanigro (Colorado State University), and Harry M. Kaiser (Cornell University) to review the literature surrounding this issue and provide policy recommendations.
While some people call for a ban on process labels, these experts explain why that would be a bad idea. Labels can be good for consumers and producers alike, but the food industry and government officials should keep key points in mind:
1. Governments should not impose bans on process labels.
2. Mandatory labeling should occur only when science-based facts prove that the product is harmful.
3. Voluntary process labels should be encouraged if they are true and scientifically verifiable.
4. Next-generation process labels should avoid the “all or nothing syndrome” while incorporating new technology and imaginative ways to clearly inform consumers.