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Arguments Surrounding Organic and Genetically Modified Food Labelling: A Few Comparisons

  • Mikael Klintman
Publishing year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 247-259
Publication/Series: Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Volume: 4
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Routledge

Abstract english

This paper compares reasoning surrounding organic food labelling with arguments concerning mandatory GM labelling. Focus is placed on argumentative cross-overs, defined as cases where actors or organizations use a certain type of argumentation for one issue (for example, modes of food production), and shift into using their opponent's type of argumentation for a closely related issue (for example, food labelling). The paper is a textual analysis of the arguments across non-governmental organizations, scientists, policy-makers and corporations. Argumentative cross-overs are not only of theoretical interest. They run the risk of, for instance, making consumers assume that all struggles for 'stricter food labelling' will lead to more reliable labelling information and to a higher level of consumer empowerment. It is important to call for more nuanced descripticns of food labelling, and to make the public aware of the cross-overs, which often involve vast exaggerations of what food labelling can, or cannat, tell us.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • cross-over
  • critical realism
  • epistemic relativism


  • ISSN: 1523-908X
Mikael Klintman
E-mail: mikael [dot] klintman [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 70 284 55 48

+46 70 284 55 48


Sociologiska institutionen, Paradisgatan 5, Hus G, Lund


Sociologist with a broad, human scientific interest in social, economic and evolutionary dimensions of environmental and health related problems.

Department of Sociology
Lund University
Visiting address: Sandgatan 11, House G, Lund
Postal address: Box 114 , SE-221 00 LUND, SWEDEN
Telephone: Student Office +46 46-222 88 44, Lund University Switchboard +46 46-222 00 00

Faculty of Social Sciences