Can of tuna chunks with 'Dolphin Friendly' label, 1999.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This label illustrates the influence consumer opinion can exert over food producers. In the 1970s and 1980s, environmental groups campaigned against the methods being used to catch tuna, a popular fish for canning. The purse-seine nets being used were causing the deaths of large numbers of dolphins and porpoises, which themselves hunt tuna and are often found swimming close to the shoals. This resulted in increasing numbers of consumers boycotting canned tuna. As a result, producers began purchasing tuna caught by other methods, and labelling their product as 'dolphin-friendly' or 'dolphin-safe'. This in turn prompted legislation to ensure that the fish was really being caught without harming dolphins and that this could be verified.