Organic. Fair-trade. GMO-free. Gluten-free. Low-fat. All-natural. When it comes to food labels, the possibilities are endless. Yet food labels are far more complex and slippery than simple legal definitions would suggest. In fact, labels are often shaped by political forces and can serve as powerful marketing tools. As consumers demand more information about where their food comes from and its nutritional qualities, labeling has come to the fore as a potential source of answers.
A recent Oklahoma State University poll found that “80% of consumers favor labeling of food that contains DNA.” Apart from GMOs, as food becomes more and more highly engineered, the consumer’s pretty much in the dark. But does that matter? What, if any, information should be required on food labels, and how should that sort of policy be decided? How do culture and geography influence what information consumers want to know about their food?
This MOFAD Roundtable debate will bring together a diverse group of policy makers, scholars, activists, and thinkers to explore the relationship between food labels and marketing, changing notions of what constitutes useful information, and the politics of what consumers do (and don’t) know about their food.
Katherine DiMatteo, executive director, Sustainable Food Trade Association; managing partner, Wolf, DiMatteo + Associates
William K. Hallman, PhD, professor/chair of Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers University
Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives, Consumers Union
Val Giddings, PhD, senior fellow, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF)
Moderated by Dave Arnold, founder, the Museum of Food and Drink, author of Liquid Intelligence
Book signing in the Kitchen Arts & Letters pop-up bookstore to follow, 5 – 5:30 PM