Thursday, June 6, 2013

Check Label, Before Purchase the Product.
 Food label contributes 
  • To provides information from the food manufacturer to the consumer
  • It helps tell consumers what they are buying
  • It warn about potential allergy reactions
  • Improve product traceability
  • Indicate how to store and prepare the product
  • Act as a product promotional tool
  • Protect manufacture from legal issues
  • To obtain quality and safety standards
In many countries in the world, labeling is a mandatory requirement. By European Union Law all food products must show the following basic information:
  • Name and Address of Manufacturer
  • List of Ingredients and quantity of certain ingredients (e.g. Pork 10%)
  • Shelf Life
  • Storage Instructions
  • Instructions for Use
  • Weight of Product
  • Country of Origin
  • Product Name
  • High caffeine content warning (drinks containing over 150mg/l of caffeine)
  • Quinine labeling
  • Alcoholic strength by volume (drinks over 1.2% only)
  • Allergen information  (in the ingredient list)
  • Sweeteners labeling
  • Polyol warning (‘excessive consumption may produce a laxative effect)
  • PKU warning (‘contains a source of phenylalanine)
  • Packaging gases (‘packaged in a protective atmosphere)
  • Irradiated food labeling (‘irradiated’ or ‘treated with ionising radiation)
  • GMO labeling
In addition to that nutritional information should provide especially if a claim is made. In addition to that guideline daily amounts, claims such as “No artificial additives added”, Graphical and pictorial information, Vegan or vegetarian label, Method of slaughter (Halal), Marketing terms (fresh, pure), number of servings, Quality type claims (e.g. ‘100% chicken breast, Special offer competitions, logos, brand names and Environmental impact  (e.g. dolphin friendly) can also be included.

All the relevant information should be provided to not to mislead intended consumers. Food product name should indicate the process of production that foods undergo. As an example smoked tuna, canned fish, dried apple slices etc.  The ingredients list:
  • Tells the consumers the ingredients that have been used in manufacturing the food;
  • Is written in descending order by weight - So the first ingredient on the list is the ingredient of which there is most in the product, the second ingredient the second most etc.;
  • Also lists permitted additives.
 Consumer especially immune compromised people and vegans should thoroughly see the list of ingredients before purchasing the product, so they can avoid purchasing food that cause allergic reactions or contain non vegetarian diets respectively.
Nutritional Facts, Most Important
Nutritional information is sometimes given on the nutrient content of the food. Information is generally given on the gram content of the macro-nutrients – proteins, carbohydrates (‘of which sugars’ is sometimes also included), fats (‘of which saturates’ is sometimes also included). The label may also list grams of Fiber. The label may also list milligram or micro gram content of micro-nutrients, e.g. Salt (g) / Sodium (mg), vitamins etc. It will always give the energy value. Nutrients are listed as amount: per 100g or per serving or both. Energy is listed in kilo calories or kilojoules. G.D.A.s stands for Guideline Daily Amounts. G.D.A.s tells you how much (%) of the amount of a nutrient that you are recommended to consume daily is provided by a portion of the product.   G.D.A.s found on the food label is based on the recommendations for an average adult or child of healthy weight and average activity level.

Other symbols or instructions on the food label
  • Vegetarian Symbol - A symbol indicating that a food is suitable for vegetarians
  • Allergen information
Any foods that have been specially manufactured to meet the allergy-related, requirements of a particular group must and indicate this clearly on the label. 
  • Gluten free symbol - A gluten-free label can make life much easier for those with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance as it is difficult to find foods without gluten.
  • Litter man symbol - Encourages people to dispose of litter properly. Helps in safeguarding our environment
  • Cooking instructions - Given for food products that need to be cooked on the hob or in an oven
  • Microwave instructions - A microwave symbol is often included on packs when the food is ‘microwavable’. Typically there are also details of how long and at what power the food should be heated in the microwave oven.  Some food is already packed in microwavable containers so that it is ready to cook / reheat.
  • Quality standards - Halal, ISO 22000
  • Packaging materials
  • Irradiated food
  • Recyclable  
 Different Types of Date Code
  • Use By: Used for foods those are microbiologically highly perishable and might harm humans if consumed beyond a certain date. Often used for chilled foods:  e.g. sandwiches, fresh juices and fresh meat products
  • Best Before: Written in the form of Day, Month, and Year. Used for products that has a shelf-life of three months or less. e.g. bread, biscuits, crisps and sweets.
  • Best Before End: Alternative to ‘Best Before’ date. Used for products that has a shelf-life of three months or less. May be expressed in a month or year only format
  • Display Until: Not required by regulations. Used by the store to tell them to remove the product from the shelves by a certain date.

Bar Code
  • This registers the sale of the product once the packet or tin is passed over the scanner at the supermarket.
  • It is useful for the shop owner for stocktaking purposes.
  • It is useful for the consumer as the food products bought are itemized in the receipt.

It is an offense to label or advertise a food so as to mislead people!



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