Carlo Petrini: 'We need to put a stop to misleading labels!'

In the wake of the horsemeat scandal that has rocked Europe and shaken consumer confidence, Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement, sounds off on the controversy with stern words for both decision makers and consumers alike in an opinion piece:

We need to put a stop to misleading labels! The scandal spreading across Europe following the discovery of horsemeat in prepared foods shows that the European traceability system works in emergency situations -- when products that are hazardous to health have to be recalled.

However, it also shows that the system is not effective when it comes to informing consumers about the contents of the food they're buying, the ingredients that were used and the way they were prepared. 

Labels are misleading or, at best, lack information. Why? Well, because if I could read on a label that a dish contains ingredients produced all over the world and that it was prepared in a factory and packaged thousands of kilometers away, I would probably wonder about the quality of that product. And yet, this is exactly what happens to most of the foodstuffs which have undergone siginficant transformation -- what Americans refer to as "processed food."

Now, lobbyists have waded into the debate in Brussels and are standing in the way of any regulations that would provide consumers with clear and exhaustive information on labels, in the name of free competition or free trade...The European Parliament is full of supporters of the free market system who are ready to protest as soon as anyone demands detailed labels or suggests that it be compulsory to declare where a product's primary ingredients come from. 

We can no longer accept a system that favors lasagna made with meat from anonymous sources while undervaluing traditional, artisanal, organic, farm-produced foods by labeling them as belonging to an "elitist niche".

We must ask political decision-makers to fight for a fairer, more open system with exhaustive labeling and more guarantees. 

But above all, as consumers, we must open our eyes, make conscientious choices, ask questions and understand that each purchase is a vote in favor of one food system over another; that we have everything to gain by rapidly moving to source food locally from farmers; and that it would be better all round to give up processed foods and start real cooking again -- simply and inexpensively. 

When Carlo Petrini stood up to the global fast food giant McDonald's in the 1980s in an attempt to prevent the chain from opening an outlet in Rome, little did he know he'd go on to spearhead an international food movement followed by disciples in 150 countries around the world.

But for the past 26 years, Petrini has led the Slow Food Movement, a group that grew out of a fierce resistance to the fast food industry and which champions traditional, regional and sustainable foods.

vs/ls/fl/cm

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe
    National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe

    Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalised in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers. The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history. Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April …

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar
    South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar

    South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years. The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world's largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals' private lives," said …

  • ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’
    ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’

    Supt. Raymund Train, who led the SAF team that killed Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, recounted in a sworn statement the meeting he and senior SAF officers had with Aquino in Malacañang on Nov. 30. Train said among the senior officers who attended the meeting were then PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF deputy commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and intelligence group chief Senior Supt. Fernando Mendez. …

  • NYC, Orthodox Jews reach deal on circumcision suction ritual
    NYC, Orthodox Jews reach deal on circumcision suction ritual

    NEW YORK (AP) — The city said Tuesday it has reached a tentative agreement with members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community over a tradition known as oral suction circumcision. …

  • U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea. China claims most of …

  • Vatican seeks to quell Mexican anger over pope's drug remark
    Vatican seeks to quell Mexican anger over pope's drug remark

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican sought Wednesday to defuse a diplomatic tiff with Mexico after Pope Francis referred to the possible "Mexicanization" of his native Argentina from drug trafficking, the latest instance of Francis' casual speaking style getting him into trouble. …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition carried out air strikes Thursday against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The Observatory said negotiations were ongoing "through mediators from Arab tribes and a member of the Assyrian community" to …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options