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Food Labeling: Free Trade, Consumer Choice, And Accountability

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Chapter Summary

This chapter proposes that governments should be allowed to mandate informational labels that address food production methods. It explores two areas of ongoing controversy in food production methods: hormone treatment of beef and genetic modification of agricultural products. First the background of the hormone dispute is discussed. The chapter proposes that hormone-treated beef be allowed into Europe if labeled as hormone treated. Such a labeling system would meet the European concern, would comport with basic principles of free trade, and would be a more easily justifiable solution than either the U.S. proposal or the European Union (EU) ban. Then the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body's decision is reviewed with respect to the EU's "precautionary principle" rationale. The chapter summarizes the current state of this ongoing dispute, and suggests mandatory labeling as a solution. Finally, it discusses various consumer concerns over hormone-treated beef.

Keywords: agricultural products; dietary decision; European Union's (EU's) precautionary principle rationale; food labeling; food production methods; free trade; genetic modification; hormone-treated beef; World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body's decision



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