Ethics in Food Labeling and Packaging

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Ethical Food Labeling and Packaging
After seeing the ad on television or in the weekly grocer flyer, seeing the actual labeling on a product is what consumers have to make informed choices. What started out to be another form of advertising and last attempt to sell a product, food packaging and labeling has been regulated through the FDA and FD&C to require certain information. It was declared to be the policy of the Congress to assist consumers and manufacturers in reaching these goals in the marketing of consumer goods (Regulatory). Beyond giving the name of the food, net quantity of contents, name and address of manufacturer, statement of ingredients and nutrition information, a product can still be misleading beyond the principal display panels.

Accurate and legally complete labels make sense from the standpoints of both ethics and good business (Scott par. 1). Consumers depend on product labels every day to make informed decisions when buying products and those misleading and deceptive labels make it much more difficult to make good purchasing decisions. Proper labeling to provide the consumer with useful, factual information was the rationale for the original FDCA misbranding provisions, and that motivation has not changed in more than half a century (Committee). Label information can be used to mislead the consumer by providing untrue information or to exaggerate their products’ features. As an example, nutrient information claiming “low fat”, “100% natural” or “organic” have been used on products that left out pertinent information in supporting those claims. Unlike 100% Organic, Organic and Made with Organic Processes, which have tight regulations, the FDA has almost no regulations about the use of the word “natural”. The FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives, however the agency had not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic...
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