food production, animal welfare, consumer concern, labeling, Process Verified Program (PVP), USDA

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Americans are increasingly sensitive to the conditions under which the foods they purchase and consume are produced. It is becoming commonplace for consumers to incorporate perceived environmental impacts, animal welfare concerns, and other process attributes into food purchase decisions. Increased interest in production practices and technologies employed in food production has been seen in the U.S. specifically concerning irradiation, antibiotics, and hormone and pesticide use. Perhaps one of the most controversial technologies employed in food production today is the use of genetic engineering. Not surprisingly, consumers are particularly sensitive about practices employed or technologies used in foods produced specifically for infants or young children, making labeling and marketing of products for such special-interest segments of the population an area of continued controversy.