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date: 27 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

From Fair Trade to Organic certification, the ethical labeling of food represents a growing phenomenon in the twenty-first century. The proliferation of labeling initiatives in recent years has provoked debate on the effectiveness of this form of voluntary, market-based regulation. Advocates understand ethical food labeling as a way of safeguarding environmental, labor, and health standards in food production that are unprotected by the state by empowering consumers as political actors. Conversely, critics view ethical food labeling as an elitist system plagued by problems of transparency, accountability, scalability, and consumer misinformation—ultimately an inadequate substitute for stronger state regulation. This chapter provides an overview of ethical labeling standards for food, outlining the claims made by proponents, the critiques that have been raised, and the relevant research, focusing particularly on Fair Trade and Organic standards.

Keywords: fair trade, organic, labeling, certification, regulation, food ethics, ethical labeling standards, environment, health, labor

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