'Local' food labels deceive customers

Mar 20, 2018

A popular foodie trend is to "buy local," but use of the term is rarely enforced, reported Robert Anglen in the Arizona Republic. The story was published on USAToday.com.

"The word 'local' is chic; it sells things," said Cindy Fake, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Placer and Nevada counties. "So, it's used by everybody and anybody." 

Fake said "local" has no clear definition and consumers are easily misled.

"They are likely to be deceived," she said. "Consumers are thinking one way and the marketers know that. They know consumers want local, so they say it's local."

The reporter also spoke with Gail Feenstra, deputy director of UC ANR's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

"There is a huge diversity across states about what is local," Feenstra said

There is more transparency on fresh produce because it's easier for consumers to identify where it came from and recognize regional products on store shelves.

Feenstra said shoppers need to do their research.

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist