Food labels are essential to give information to consumers and so there are legal requirements surrounding them. To get them right is vital to ensure that consumers are properly informed and to also prevent your business from being involved in legal actions as a result of non-compliance to the requirements.
The problem is that to meet these requirements is not easy and it is not cheap. Specific tests and methods have to be done and followed to ensure that the correct information is available to include as required on the labels.
So why do businesses go through the hassles to meet the labelling requirements? Here are six things that the Food and Agricultural Organisation and World health Organisation say that labels help consumer do;
- Helps keep people healthy – labels show the nutritional content of the food, which lets consumers know what they are eating. They can use this information to help monitor their energy intake and the amount of fat, protein, vitamins, minerals and sugars they are eating. For those with diabetes and other health conditions or illnesses, this information is essential in managing their diet. The Health Star Ratings are intended to help people understand how healthy foods are.
- Labels help keep you safe – the storage, cooking / heating instructions will when followed will ensure that the food is safe for consumption.
- Labelling when used with test methods will ensure that a food is what the label says – food fraud is on the increase and the labels on food products have to declare what is actually in the pack. This is only possible when there is good strong testing and compliance to legal requirements.
- Labelling helps you avoid foods you need to – without having labels clearly showing what food allergens are present in a food, people could eat that food and have significant allergic reactions.
- Labels tell you when food can be used or not – Use by Dates on foods tell consumers that the food must be thrown out by no later than that day. Although there seems to be some people in our community who do not understand this – more education by governments around the world needs to be done to make this very clear. Once people understand the idea, this will help reduce food waste.
- Labels help you know where your food comes from – Country of Origin lLbelling lets consumers know where their food comes from.
For more information about the big picture on food labelling,have a look at this site –http://www.fao.org/food-labelling/en/