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Food Labeling

  1. 1. Food Labeling Food consumption patterns have considerably changed over recent years and consumers are progressively more and more aware of the issues related to foods. Food labeling become as the vital tool for consumers to acquire information about what they purchase and it is directly related to the decision on purchasing. Therefore, food labels represent key elements in consumer choice. Information regarding ingredients/composition of food item, nutritional information, use by or best before date, instruction for use or cooking, storage instruction, price of product and health claims are crucial in matching consumer needs and desires. When analyzing the present situation in the food industry, food legislation and voluntary food safety schemes are playing big role in defining the content of food labeling. Labeling Requirements: Voluntary Food Safety Schemes Voluntary food safety schemes such as ISO/FSSC 22000 and BRC also specify the requirements on food labeling in dedicated clauses of the standards. Labeling Requirements: Laws and Regulations Legislation/laws may be implemented at national level, regional level or international level. These laws have been implemented to prevent consumer deception, ensure food safety, inform about possible health risk, etc.… Below are some examples for the regulatory authorities in different countries. Label serves as a tool for protecting consumers  Provide information important for protecting human health  Provide warning and information regarding safe way to use  Provide information on allergen Label serves as a tool for communication  Help consumers to choose foods which have the qualities they need Food Labels may tell consumers;  Quality of the product  Benefits of the product  Possible risks from the product  Appropriate use of the product
  2. 2. United States (US): Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are primarily responsible for the regulation of food labels. Food laws such as the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and their amendments, Food Quality Protection Act, Food Allergens labeling, and Consumer Protection Act impose different labeling requirements for foods and beverages. European Union (EU): European Food Information to Consumers Regulation No 1169/2011 (FIC), new EU regulation came into force on 13 December 2014. The new law combines the directives on labelling, presentation and advertising of foods, and nutrition labelling for foods into one legislation. Canada: Health Canada/Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) responsible for food labeling in Canada  Food and Drugs Act 1985 establishes regulatory authority over food (last amended on June, 2017)  Canada's Regulatory System for Foods with Health Benefits - An Overview for Industry – provides an overview of Canada's food regulatory system and important resources on labelling. Australia and New Zealand: Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) sets food labelling standards in the Food Standards Code (PART 1.2 Labelling and other information requirements) India: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is the responsible authority to regulate food labels.  The Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and labelling) ; 2011 Sri Lanka: Ministry of Health and Food advisory Committee are responsible for implementing the new regulations.  The Food Act No. 26 of 1980  Food (Labelling and Advertising) Regulations; 2005
  3. 3. Contents of Food Label Product Name/Identity Name of the product should be mention in the label. False or misleading name should be avoided. Brand Name In addition to the name of the food product, brand name or trademark can be used in the label. Package Size/Net Contents It is required to mention the size of the package. Name & Address of Manufacture, Packer or Marketer Name, address and contact details of the manufacturer, packer or marketer should be mentioned in the label for consumer information and traceability. List of Ingredients All the ingredients contain in particular food item should be declared under ingredient list. In most cases it shall be declared in descending order of predominance. It means that the ingredient weighs the most is listed first and the ingredient that weighs the least is listed last. In the EU, common food additives are identified by 3 or 4 digit code, known as an E number, but in the US, additives must be referenced by their common names. Direction for use and storage instruction These information are essential to inform consumer regarding how to use or prepare the product and how to store/store condition before pack opening and after pack opening. What information available on food Label?  Product name/Identity  Brand name  Package size/Net contents  Name & address of manufacture, packer or marketer  List of ingredients  Storage instruction  Direction for use  Nutrition facts panel  Country of origin  Allergen statement  Best before date  Health clams/ Nutrition Claim
  4. 4. Nutritional information The nutrition facts is a label required on most packaged food in many countries. United States (US) Vs. European Union:  FDA announced the new Nutrition Facts label of packaged foods to reflect new scientific information on 2016  In the EU, Nutritional labelling becomes mandatory for most pre-packaged foods as from December 2016  In the US, nutritional labels must indicate the number of servings per container, but in the EU, an indication of the number of servings is not required  Another key difference in the requirements is that the US lists sodium content in in milligrams on nutrition labels, while the EU lists salt content in grams  The two systems are similar; the major difference is how they reveal calories:  In the US, calories is mentioned based on the serving size, on the other hand, in the EU, all calorie listings are based in 100 g or 100 ml Country of origin This is a recent food label requirement and this information helps with consumer to know the place of manufacture or packed. This requirement may be challenging for the food producers;  When ingredient mixed together with other origin  Origin of ingredient may differ from season to season In most cases, Some food is exempt from country of origin labelling requirements, including food sold for immediate consumption (e.g. restaurants, canteens) and food that is made and packaged on the premises it is sold (e.g. bakery). Australia and New Zealand: The Australian Government has introduced a new country of origin food labelling system, which commenced on 1 July 2016 and mandatory on 1 July 2018. Country of origin labelling is voluntary in New Zealand. European Union: Not a mandatory requirement United States (US): Goods that are imported into the United States are required to have a country of origin marking
  5. 5. Allergen Statement Some foods and food ingredients or their components can cause several allergic reactions, therefore these should be mentioned in the label. United States (US): According to the Food Allergens Labelling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), it is required that food which contain “major food allergen” should be declared on the food label. They have identified eight foods or food groups as major food allergen and these are milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. Allergens other than the major food allergens are not subject to FALCPA labeling requirements. FALCPA's labeling requirements extend to foods packaged by a retail or foodservice establishment that are offered for human consumption. However, FALCPA's labeling requirements do not apply to foods provided by a retail food establishment. Under FALCPA, raw agricultural commodities (generally fresh fruits and vegetables) are exempt. Effective date: January 1, 2006 European Union: As per the Regulation No. 1169/2011, they have recognized 14 allergens listed in Annex II (as amended by Commission Delegated Regulation No. 78/2014) as the most common ingredients or processing aids causing food allergies and intolerances. The way of declaring allergens such as emphasizing by font, style and colour is explained in the regulation. Eggs, milk, fish, crustaceans (for example crab, lobster, crayfish, shrimp, prawn), molluscs (for example mussels, oysters, squid), peanuts, tree nuts (namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, brazils, pistachios, macadamia nuts or Queensland nuts), sesame seeds, cereals containing gluten (namely wheat (such as spelt, Khorasan wheat/Kamut), rye, barley, oats, or their hybridised strains). Soya, celery and celeriac, mustard, lupin, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at concentration of more than ten parts per million) Australia and New Zealand: FSANZ Food standard code section 1.2 explained the requirement of allergen declaration. Peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, sesame seeds, fish and shellfish, soy and wheat as the allergen caused ingredients and these must be declared on the food label, whenever they are present in food as an ingredient. Best before date Expire date is mentioned in the package as;  Expire date  Best before  Use by
  6. 6. Nutrition Claim & Health Claims European Union: With the objective of providing guidelines for displaying health and nutrition claims in food labels or their advertising, Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 has been established by the European Union. This regulation serves as the legal framework for food business operators. Nutrition claim' means any claim which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties. Nutrition claims are only permitted if they are listed in the Annex of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006, lastly amended by Regulation (EU) No 1047/2012. A health claim is any statement about a relationship between food and health. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is responsible for evaluating the scientific evidence supporting health claims. United States (US): According to the FDA regulations, three types of claims can be made on the food and dietary supplement; health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims. These are governed by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA), Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act (FDAMA) and Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) - Basura J. Jayasundara (April 2018) Disclaimer: The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of any of the organizations and is made available for educational purposes only. The author will not be responsible for the use or misuse of the information provided in the article.

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