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Humane Food Could Become A Major Trend, But There's A Need For Clear Standards

December 20, 2010: 09:23 AM EST

Humane food is being tipped as one of the next big consumer trends, but labeling is creating an issue, with claims that some producers are guilty of misrepresentation. A study from research group Technomic found that shoppers rate animal welfare highly as a food issue, and Supervalu and Safeway have recently announced plans to improve conditions for animals. Whole Foods is launching a program, developed by Global Animal Partnership, which will rate products on animal welfare. 700 farms have been certified, and that could reach 1,000 by the end of 2010. However, the Global Animal Partnership is just one of a number of such certification programs: the lack of a government standard leaves the way clear for companies to use their own, and Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States argues that such programs give consumers false assurance about animal welfare. The Society has filed a class action lawsuit against the country’s third-largest chicken producer, Perdue, claiming its "humanely raised" label is false advertising. Shapiro says that it’s akin to “green washing”. 

Georgina Gustin, "'Humane' food sparks excitement, labelling controversy", Vancouver Sun, December 20, 2010, © McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
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