How many of your students (or you, your friends, co-workers, family, etc.) know the real meaning behind labels such as:
- Dolphin safe
- Environmentally friendly
- Fair trade
- Free range
Students could dig even deeper into these issues, exploring, for example, the reasoning behind having certain labels, who supports and opposes those labels and their reasons for doing so, and so on. Ben & Jerry's was recently pressured into removing the "All Natural" label from its products that contain ingredients such as corns syrup and hydrogenated oils, even though the FDA has no formal definition for "natural." The recent reversal of a ban on milk labeling in Ohio could be another example to explore. In 2005 the egg industry was forced to remove "Animal Care Certified" labels from its cartons by the Federal Trade Commission. There have been controversies over the labeling (or not) of genetically modified food, labeling meat and products from cloned animals, changing the definition of organic, and more.
Students could even develop their own criteria, definitions and standards for food and other products.
Exploring these issues helps us hone our critical thinking skills, search for accurate information, and connect more deeply with the products and services we use and their impact on people, animals and the planet.
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