How to Label ‘Natural’ Foods: a Matter of Complexity

How to Label ‘Natural’ Foods: a Matter of Complexity Food is sometimes labeled as ‘100% natural’ or as containing ‘all natural ingredients’. There is however controversy on how to justify, design and implement such labelling. This paper argues that since (1) naturalness is not one single concept, but several ones (polysemy), and (2) those concepts typically allow degrees, so that things can be more or less natural, thus, (3) this complexity should be reflected in labelling of foods. There is no obvious way of presenting an aggregate measure of a particular food item’s naturalness, and therefore a graphical representation that contains several axes, with the degree of naturalness represented on each axis, is considered. Such a mode of representation might however be too complex to be practical, and a possible compromise would be to settle for a small number of labels that represent some common combinations of degrees of naturalness along the axes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Food Ethics Springer Journals

How to Label ‘Natural’ Foods: a Matter of Complexity

Food Ethics , Volume 1 (2) – Jan 31, 2017
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Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by The Author(s)
Subject
Philosophy; Ethics
ISSN
2364-6853
eISSN
2364-6861
D.O.I.
10.1007/s41055-017-0008-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Food is sometimes labeled as ‘100% natural’ or as containing ‘all natural ingredients’. There is however controversy on how to justify, design and implement such labelling. This paper argues that since (1) naturalness is not one single concept, but several ones (polysemy), and (2) those concepts typically allow degrees, so that things can be more or less natural, thus, (3) this complexity should be reflected in labelling of foods. There is no obvious way of presenting an aggregate measure of a particular food item’s naturalness, and therefore a graphical representation that contains several axes, with the degree of naturalness represented on each axis, is considered. Such a mode of representation might however be too complex to be practical, and a possible compromise would be to settle for a small number of labels that represent some common combinations of degrees of naturalness along the axes.

Journal

Food EthicsSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 31, 2017

References

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