Labeling to Distract

Excerpt: But by labeling, people may believe that they have successfully insulated themselves from the problems of modern agricultural practices and may therefore lack motivation for organizing for change. As sociologist Andrew Szasz explains in his 2009 book, Shopping Our Way to Safety, if individuals believe that they have shielded themselves from a perceived threat, there is a false sense of security.

With GM food labeling, the “protected” consumers would feel less urgency to push for the kind of regulatory controls needed to address structural issues in the food system, and regulators would have little incentive to defy the powerful influence of agribusiness. Therefore, labeling may impede the development of a significant mass of consumers who are committed to critical thinking about the American food system.

Citation: Lang, John T. 2014. “Labeling to Distract.” Contexts 13(3).

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