Fightin’ Words

While labeling people is usually discouraged, we think food labels can be pretty darn helpful. We like being able to check the nutrition facts and ingredients displayed on the comestible products lining grocery store shelves. The folks in the E.U. have gone one step further, affixing an additional label on food that consists of or contains (or has ingredients made from) genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Now, the Brits may embrace yet another label. This one would inform consumers of the amount of greenhouse gases involved in growing and transporting victuals, we learned from an article in the Daily Telegraph.

These standards could include energy inputs, fertiliser use, soil management, waste management and water pollution.

It sounds like the eco-label could cause quite a stir:

Developing an eco-label will almost inevitably re-ignite arguments between organic and conventional farmers which flared up last week.

The row erupted after a government study conducted by Manchester Business school concluded that milk, tomatoes, and chicken produced organically weren’t as eco-friendly as the same products produced conventionally because they consumed more fossil fuels. The Soil Association (the leading organic farming body) then asserted that study was riddled with errors.

Call us optimists, but we’d like to see the eco-label debates result in an accessible, transparent explanation of how the environmental impacts are calculated, and an easy-to-read display. We just hope that if this becomes a reality, British consumers will be able to find the name of the product they’re buying amongst all the labels.


I live in the US, Texas of all places and find it so disturbing that our country doensn't even provide us with information about products that are produced by GMO's. I am currently trying to finishmy degree in Env Science & hopefully make some changes once I work my way up the "chain". I appreciate your magazine and the information it provides!!!