ABSTRACT

This chapter intends to assess in what ways different theories of free speech can contribute in justifying the duty of food producers to disclose information using food labels. It analyzes the argument from autonomy and self-fulfillment, and it provides the rationale for mandatory food labels. It should be reinterpreted in terms of John Rawl's idea of the second moral power, and rationally to pursue a conception of ones rational advantage or good. It considers the argument from democracy, and it justifies imposing disclosure requirements upon food producers. The use of food labels to inform consumers and encourage them to adopt certain dietary habits is likely to become increasingly prominent in the policy agendas of western liberal democracies. Three kinds of labels have received special attention in the recent literature. The first category includes nutrition labels. The second category concerns genetically modified (GM) foods. The third category of labels includes conveying information about the social and environmental impact of foods.