Now more than ever, consumers examine food labels on pre-packaged items closely. Aside from looking up the nutritional values of the product, food labels help consumers make decisions on what brand to buy, or variation to choose as an alternative. Some consumers may have health problems, special preferences, or even wariness about cancer-causing ingredients.
Actually, present day food labels contain more than just nutritional values. Since 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) issued specific guidelines about the information that manufacturers must indicate at the back of all pre-packaged food labels. Such information have become legal requirements, which food manufacturers cannot dismiss or take lightly.
Important Legal Information that Food Labels Must Provide
First off, the name or title given to the pre-packed food must be a genuine representation of the product; without any cause of being deemed as false, deceptive or misleading.
Accuracy and veracity of information is likewise important with regard to the following details:
Breakdown of Ingredients – This portion must be clearly captioned as “Ingredients” to which the main component must be highlighted with an image, whether in photo or drawn form, Providing true, accurate and complete list of ingredients is a must, in light of consumers who have dietary restrictions due to health problems, disinclinations, or allergic reactions to specific substances.
Directions for Cooking Info includes not only step-by-step instructions on how to prepare and cook the food item. Directions must also specify the cooking temperature, cooking equipment, cooking time and any other specific instructions. E.g. “cook frozen.”
Storage Information and In
structions Dates indicating the duration of the product’s storage or shelf life, captioned as “‘Use by,” ‘“Best before”, “Manufacture date”.and Expiry date” help consumers plan and store food safely in order to reduce food spoilage or waste. Examples of storage instructions include specification about storage conditions (cool, warm, dry) temperature,and refrigeration requirements.
Country, Territory or State of Origin or Source The specific name, address and contact information of the business must be stated. The source of the main ingredient, if different from the location of where the product was processed or manufactured must also be indicated.
Production Details Providing additional information on how the product was processed is also important to consumers, particularly those with cultural, ethical, or political preferences. Distinctions in production information include terms such as, but not limited to Organic, Kosher, Halal,or Free Range.