Julie A. Caswell
University of Massachusetts – Amherst
Consumers are increasingly considering information on how foods are produced in making their buying decisions leading producers, processors, and retailers to do the same. Federal and state governments, as well as international standards organizations, face a dilemma in designing labeling programs for process attributes such as use of biotechnology. On the one hand, labeling is appropriate for process attributes that consumers care about and may be willing to pay more to get or avoid. On the other hand, regulators may be reluctant to label these attributes because they believe the labeling will be taken as an indicator of final, consumer-level safety in cases where it is not. In addition, labeling of process attributes may impose significant costs on an industry’s supply chain related to segregating products and verification. Read more . . .