Ever wonder why Why Food Labels are Important? Food labels provide important information about the food we eat, such as ingredients, nutritional content, and allergen warnings. Becoming familiar with these facts can help you make informed decisions when it comes to nutrition and potentially dangerous ingredients.
Importance of Knowing What’s In Your Food:
Knowing exactly what is in your food is especially important if you have allergies, as some foods can be contaminated with things that are not immediately obvious. Additionally, it’s essential to pay close attention to nutrition labels if you have diabetes or other dietary restrictions and want to monitor calorie, carbohydrate and fat intake.
Reading food ingredients carefully can also help reduce the risk of illness from eating contaminated or poorly processed foods.
Why Food Labels are Important: The benefits of Understanding Food Additives and Ingredients:
Comprehending food additives and ingredients listed on packaging is beneficial for two reasons. Not only does it help you to better understand the nutritional value of what you are buying, but it can also aid in avoiding anything that may lead to an allergic reaction or other health concerns. While some things on labels are easy to identify, others like preservatives and colours may be harder to quickly identify which is why it’s essential to take the time to research any questionable ingredients.
Avoiding Contamination Through Proper Labelling Practices:
Proper labelling not only helps protect the consumer’s health but also ensures that we are informed of any hazards that may be presented by contaminated food products. This includes allergens, chemicals, and poisons that can lead to serious risks if consumed. As such, it’s important to check the product label before purchasing to make sure that it is safe for you and your family. Additionally, a reliable food label should include contact information in case there are questions or feedback regarding the product.
Making Better Nutrition Choices Through Labels:
Proper food labelling also helps individuals make more informed nutrition choices. The ingredients and nutritional panel located on the product packaging provide important information that can help us determine whether an item is healthy or not. Foods may be high in trans-fat, or saturated fat or contain unhealthy artificial substances that should be avoided. Labels also allow us to compare different brands of similar items so that we can select the most nutritionally sound alternative.
Labelling as a Tool for Consumer Protection and Food Safety Regulations:
Food labelling provides a tool for consumer protection by informing individuals about the health properties of the food product that they are consuming. It also ensures that food products are following food safety regulations, providing an additional layer of security and awareness to individuals. Regulations from government bodies such as Health Canada or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) set out detailed requirements for the accurate and complete labelling of all commercially available food items. This means that labels must include information about the ingredients and nutrition facts, as well as any potential allergens to ensure adequate consumer protection.
Food Labelling 101: Why Food Labels are Important:
Food labelling is an important aspect for consumers across the globe. Food labels are used as reliable sources of information to help consumers make knowledgeable decisions. Consumers need to understand how to properly read and interpret food and nutrition labels.
What is on a Food Label?
Food labels will contain the following core labelling requirements in Canada:
- Ingredient List
The ingredient list must list all the ingredients in food by weight, i.e. starts with the ingredient that weighs the most and ends with the ingredient that weighs the least.
- Nutrition or health claims
Nutrition claims are considered optional on food labelling and must follow specific rules set by Health Canada to ensure the claims are consistent and not misleading.
There are two types of claims:
- Nutrient claims: describe how much of a particular nutrient is in a food, i.e. the high source of fibre
- Health claims: describe the effect of food on health and must be based on scientific evidence, i.e. Vitamin A aids in the development and maintenance of night vision
- Food allergen
Allergen information is mandatory to be included on food labels as part of the ingredient list or on a ‘Contains’ or ‘May Contain’ list.
- Date labelling
Prepackaged products with a durable shelf life of 90 days or less are to be labelled with date markings and even storage instructions.
Nutrition facts table (please see figure 1 below for reference)
The Nutrition Facts Table will give you information on the following:
- Serving size
- Percent daily values
- Information on 13 major nutrients; fat, fib
- re, saturated and trans fats, protein, cholesterol, vitamin A, vitamin C, sodium, carbohydrates, calcium, sugars, and iron.
5 reasons why Food Labels are Important!
The biggest reason why food labels are Important is that they help the average consumer make the right purchasing decision: The information these food labels provide include:
- Nutrition/Dietary Intake
Food labels can help you understand the composition of your food via the information provided on the Nutrition Facts Table. The Nutrition Facts Table allows the purchaser to understand the type of vitamins, minerals, facts, etc. that they will be consuming. By monitoring your intake of micronutrients and macronutrients, you will be able to eat a balanced diet for your body.
Food allergies are considered a rising, global epidemic. The proper comprehension of food labelling with regard to allergens is critical to avoid serious consequences. In Canada, common allergens and gluten sources must always be clearly declared on food labels when present as ingredients or components of ingredients. They will appear in the ingredient list or in a “Contains” statement located immediately after the ingredient list.
Origin information on food labels can be very important to consumers. For example, some consumers choose to purchase products from only local producers due to political or environmental motivations. Also, consumers are increasingly linking quality to geographical origins and traditions.
Many consumers are invested in how their food is prepared due to religious, ethical, and cultural reasons. Production details on food labelling may include information for the following types of products: Halal, Kosher, Organic and free-range.
- Compare and contrast products
Information is power and by understanding how to read and analyze food labels, the consumer has the power to take control of their own health. Food labels may be easy to ignore, but by taking a few extra minutes at the grocery store, will allow you to become more conscious of the products you are eating and may alter your purchases moving forward.
How Quality Smart Solutions can help
At Quality Smart Solutions, we have a team of experts who are skilled in both Canadian and USA food labelling compliance. We offer several solutions to meet your needs and understand the importance of food labelling. Please contact us today or call us at 1-800-396-5144 to learn about how we can help you.