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Article | March 31, 1997
Coming up with international eco-labeling standards that don't impede U.S. packagers is important, according to Karil Kochenderfer, director of environmental affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), testifying before Congress in late February.
Specifically some eco-labels especially "eco-seals" offer misleading and incomplete information and could serve as a barrier to U.S. trade she argued. Eco-seals which are awarded by centralized certification panels have become popular overseas particularly in Europe. But said Kochenderfer the criteria used to award eco-seals are subjective not scientific and can be barriers to innovation. In some cases they are discriminatory and protectionist becoming a barrier to trade she noted. She also said they fail to educate consumers about the environmental attributes or trade-offs associated with a specific product. Kochenderfer was testifying on behalf of the 1-member multi-industry Coalition for Truth in Environmental Marketing which favors a system modeled on the Federal Trade Commission's environmental labeling guidelines.
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