ISA’s ‘The State of Soy’ Explores Impact of Food Labels on Consumers, Farmers

Ankeny, IA – Heightened confusion about food labels and their health, nutrition and safety claims has a profound impact on shoppers, food retailers and farmers.

Separating fact from fiction is an important task and the subject of April’s edition of The State of Soy presented by the Iowa Soybean Association.

 “Almost anything goes when it comes to making claims about food, provided it results in a sale,” says Aaron Putze, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) communications director and The State of Soy host.

“Food branding is today’s version of the wild, wild west,” Putze adds. “In a rush to make sales, science and reality too often get placed on the back shelf in favor of hype and hearsay. In the end, everyone from farm to plate is negatively impacted.”  

Joining Putze for the conversation about food claims and labels are:

  • Michelle Hurd, president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association
  • Cristen Clark, farmer and blogger from Runnells and
  • Ruth MacDonald, food science and human nutrition chair and professor at Iowa State University.

 “What becomes misleading about non-GMO or all-natural labels is whether the product is a safer or healthier option,” says MacDonald. “There’s often no evidence that it is.

“People who are growing our food are doing their best to create a healthy product,” she adds. “Conventional and organic are both safe, nutritious options.”

Clark, who raises pigs and grows soybeans and corn, says antibiotic-free labels are especially irritating to her as a farmer. Antibiotics are critical to treat, control and prevent disease, says Clark. Without their responsible use, the health and welfare of animals can be compromised.

“Our view as farmers is simple and straight-forward,” says Clark. “Produce healthy livestock and you produce safe food.”

The State of Soy can be viewed online at as well as ISA’s social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

The Iowa Soybean Association ( develops policies and programs that help Iowa’s more than 40,000 soybean farmers expand profit opportunities while promoting environmentally sensitive production using the soybean checkoff and other resources. The association was founded in 1964 and is governed by an elected volunteer board of 22 farmers. It strives to be honest and transparent, fact-based and data driven and committed to environmental stewardship, collaborations and partnerships.