In recent years, food product labels have gained a lot of popularity for all the wrong reasons.
Manufacturers have become the target of frequent regulatory actions and lawsuits due to their choice of food product labels.
It's not uncommon to come across news of a food company facing a lawsuit because of using words like "natural" and "preservatives free" on their product labels while the products themselves do not match these descriptions.
Food regulatory authorities have cautioned manufacturers against using words and images on their labels that contradict the nature of their actual products.
While many food manufacturers are adhering to the labelling guidelines set by regulatory bodies like the FDA, many still continue to go against them by portraying incorrect or deceitful information on their food labels.
These rogue companies fail to follow the most basic food product labeling best practices and by doing so put many consumers at risk.
There are some gray areas that food companies are taking advantage of when coming up with their food labels.
These gray areas allow these companies to somewhat 'bend' the rules and include information or imagery in their product labels that would otherwise be illegal.
However, just because you are not blatantly breaking any rule or law, this doesn't mean you should add something to your label that could misinform consumers.
Food Labelling Best Practices
Ethical food manufacturers always put their consumers first when coming up with appropriate labels for their products.
Although the main goal of food labels is to entice customers to buy products, they should not go as far as to give false information on what constitutes a certain product or what a product can do for them.
Food companies can avoid getting themselves into legal troubles by adhering to some simple practices when coming up with their food product labels.
Below are 5 food labelling best practices that food manufacturers should strive to follow:
1. Don't Over Advertise
Overselling or over-advertising a product using labels and other print or audio-visual media is not advisable as it can sometimes have some negative consequences on the manufacturer.
Food regulatory bodies are always on the lookout for companies that oversell their product using exaggerated or false information.
Labels that contain such information can make a food company the target of many lawsuits from consumers and competitors.
2. Use Professional Designers
Using professional designers to come up with your food labels is a no brainer.
Professional designers know how to properly integrate both text, images and graphics into a single label.
Amateur designers are not as effective or proficient at doing these.
Inexperienced designers can include text or images on a label that may make a product a target of claims and lawsuits.
3. Take Care of The 'Key' Words You Use
All labels have some 'key' words that pop out. These words are assumed to describe the main highlights of the product.
Words such as 'natural', 'zero preservatives' and 'GMO free' are some of the common examples of key terms that carry a lot of weight.
These words should be used with a lot of caution and should be backed up by scientifically proven data.
Otherwise, these simple words can put a company into a lot of problems.
4. Stay Up To Date On Food Regulations
Rules and regulations change all the time. A rule or regulation that was totally non-existent yesterday could be in place and being fully implemented tomorrow.
So, what does this mean? This means you should stay up to date on all food labelling regulations that affect your product and company.
Sometimes, regulations can change when you have already sent out your products into the market.
If this is the case, you may need to do a recall of all your products for relabelling.
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