Food labeling can give helpful information to consumers looking to make healthy choices, Robert Giblin writes in this week’s Focus on Agriculture. But as more food labels pop up, consumers can too easily associate a specific label with certain health outcomes, overestimating the value and risk a label implies.

Many of today’s food labels create either a “halo effect,” implying the food is more healthy or nutritious than it actually is, or a “reverse halo effect,” making it synonymous with being bad. Many consumers misinterpret the meanings of various labels, leading to unhealthy outcomes.