ABSTRACT

This chapter focuses on a particular, and important, aspect of food labeling, namely what is termed health labeling (HL). HL can take the form of a positive health claim, but it might also be a warning. Furthermore, HL can take the form of a claim about the process or production of a given product, associated rightly or wrongly with health effects. HL raises many different concerns, but the focus here is on two: epistemic and empirical problems concerning, mainly, which features to pick out as relevant for a health impact assessment of food products; and more general normative problems with HL. Medicalization is the process of everyday life not previously thought of as a health issue becomes subsumed under a medical discourse and treated as a health problem. Healthism denotes an undue individual and/or societal obsession with health, where health becomes the goal of a host of other activities that previously were seen as goals in themselves.