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Journal of Consumer Policy

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 117–184 | Cite as

Economics of Food Labeling

  • Elise Golan
  • Fred Kuchler
  • Lorraine Mitchell
  • Cathy Greene
  • Amber Jessup
Article

Abstract

Federal intervention in food labeling is often proposed with the aim of achieving a social goal such as improving human health and safety, mitigating environmental hazards, averting international trade disputes, or supporting domestic agricultural and food manufacturing industries. Economic theory suggests, however, that mandatory food-labeling requirements are best suited to alleviating problems of asymmetric information and are rarely effective in redressing environmental or other spillovers associated with food production and consumption. Theory also suggests that the appropriate role for government in labeling depends on the type of information involved and the level and distribution of the costs and benefits of providing that information. This report traces the economic theory behind food labeling and presents three case studies in which the government has intervened in labeling and two examples in which government intervention has been proposed.

Keywords

Government Intervention Economic Theory Economic Policy International Trade Food Production 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elise Golan
    • 1
  • Fred Kuchler
    • 2
  • Lorraine Mitchell
    • 3
  • Cathy Greene
    • 4
  • Amber Jessup
    • 5
  1. 1.Food and Rural Economics Division, Economic Research Service (ERS)U.S. Department of AgricultureWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Food and Rural Economics Division, Economic Research Service (ERS)U.S. Department of AgricultureWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Market and Trade Economics DivisionERSUSA E-mail
  4. 4.Resource Economics DivisionERSUSA E-mail
  5. 5.Center for Food Safety and Applied NutritionFood and Drug AdministrationWashington

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