Conscious Food Labeling Practices Prevent Errors, Liability

POSTED 07/31/2017
Digital vs Traditional Label Printing - EHG

Foods designed for public consumption involve a rich history of regulation dating back to the early 13th century when the king of England proclaimed the first food regulatory law, the Assize of Bread, which prohibited bakers from mixing ground peas and beans into bread dough. Since that time, there have been numerous rules around the packaging and labeling foods.

In the United States, the first official laws around labeling food products came as early as 1906, but culminated in U.S. v. 95 Barrels Alleged Apple Cider Vinegar, with the Supreme Court ruling upholding that the Food and Drugs Act “condemns every statement, design, or device on a product’s label that may mislead or deceive, even if technically true.”

Labeling food products has never been quite the same since that landmark ruling. And, rightfully so. Consumers should have a clear understanding of what’s inside the packaged food, beverage or drug items they purchase and consume. Since the 1924 Act, a variety of other regulations and legislative amendments have continued to build around addressing not only what’s inside the bottle, but also how clearly labeled it is on the outside.

Labeling Allergens in Food Products

In 2004, another of these laws directly affected the food labeling industry with the passage of the Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, requiring specific labeling of any food that contains one or more of peanuts, soybeans, cow’s milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, and wheat.

When you’re launching a new food or beverage product, listing possible allergens is one of the most important steps on your labeling checklist. Imagine the expense and public relations nightmare of making a mistake that initiates a costly recall, or worse yet, is harmful to consumers.

Product liability advocate JD Supra reports that it is rare these days for a week to go by without reports of a food recall and states “the number of annual recalls has more than quadrupled since 2006 when there was 154 food product recalls. In 2016, there was 650 food recalls, 540 of which fell under FDA jurisdiction and 110 under the USDA.” While not all recalls are “label-related,” a fair number are associated with mistakes made during the label planning and design process.

Cutting corners on food labeling is never a good idea. If you are in the food or beverage production business, you likely know the rules all too well. Still, partnering with an expert food-labeling manufacturer can protect you from oversights and mistakes during the hurried production process.

Epsen Hillmer Graphics has been labeling food products for more than 100 years. In fact, we’ve been here since 1908, closely following and complying with plenty of regulations affecting the packaging and labeling food products. Why would you risk your food labeling needs to a less experienced label manufacturer? Call us today at 1-800-228-9940.