Consumer rights is the belief that all consumers have the right to know what they are buying. Companies often market things in a slanted, bias way in order to increase sales by misleading the buyer. This is done with a variety of products including food, cosmetics, and clothing, among other things. By using tricky semantics, companies can make their product seem to mean one thing, while the truth is opposing.
President John F. Kennedy believed that the people should know what they are buying and outlined four basic consumer rights in a speech which is now known as the Consumers Bill of Rights. Kennedy believed consumers should have the right to safety, the right to be information, the right of choice, and the right to be heard. From this speech a movement was made, with Helen Nelson as one of many leaders.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Nelson’s work contributed to a variety of market changes, including product labels, nutritional information and gasoline rating. Now, more than 60 years later, consumers are again advocating for rights to know about their products. Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, refers to produce which is made from plants that have been altered to increase yields. These plants are patented and have the potential to destroy small scale farmers. Further, these products have unknown health effects. Currently, companies, citizens and government officials are debating the rights of the consumers to include labeling of GMOs.