The focus of this article is about the importance of the function of product labels, especially in the ingredient labels of food and cosmetic, on which consumers depend in deciding whether to buy it. In modern economy society, the information in the labeling of a tangible goods and intangible services is critical for consumers to choose the stocks they want to buy. The reason why the consumers more depend on the labeling will be subject to several reasons, such as; 1) the change of the types of goods which have so much functions that the buyers cannot catch the whole real quality of those stocks in an instant, 2) businesses are tend to use the strategy to prevent their consumer from accessing to their rivals. It is the problem of ‘experience goods and credence goods’.
Because the consumer sovereignty and social welfare requires guaranteeing consumers’ right of choice and in this context, despite the strong competition policy in Korea, the deceptive labeling could lead consumer to choose inefficient goods unreasonably. As a result, despite the widen scope of consumers’ choice by the competition policy, the consumer sovereignty by allowing consumers to choose products and services reasonably, which they really want, cannot be enlarged.
In many Korean administrative law, the stipulations of labeling contents are not enough to guarantee the consumers’ right of choice because the requirement of ingredient in food is quite limited and allows exemption of some food additives, and the requirement of showing all ingredients of cosmetic goods without any classification causes the consumers’ indifference to the indication. For this reason, the current regulations for the labeling contents and methods need to be revised to assure consumer’s right of choice by requiring the labeling contents to be assorted based on the hazard of the contents or any characteristics of the ingredients.
For this reason, current inefficient labelling regulations for food and cosmetic goods should remove the limitation of food ingredient information and adopt more efficient methods to show the ingredients of cosmetic products, enabling the consumer to compare the content of a product against the others.