The Importance of Nutrition Labeling
Every food, drink, or vitamin we purchase comes with food and nutrition. Even the produce at the store is labeled according to its name; you should know whether or not it is organic or locally grown to make the best decision. You should be able to find out anything you need to know with your food’s nutrition label. However, you’d be surprised to find out that food labeling is still not as transparent as it should be. Regardless of those with food allergies or dietary restrictions, the labeling regulations placed on food, drugs, and cosmetics are still weak in a few places.
What is so important about nutrition labeling? A product’s nutrition label describes the nutrition content of food, and it guides consumers to the products that are safe or best for them. These nutrition labels can save a life, especially for those with common allergies, such as nuts, soy, or gluten. At the start of nutrition labeling, it was purely voluntary. However, after 1972, the FDA expanded upon the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, labels on products must disclose when nutrients have been added to the food or if there is a health claim.
Unfortunately, however, many labels with false health claims find their way through. When food labels are misleading, it is more than dishonest. It can put a person’s health in jeopardy. Unfortunately, too many foods profess to help with weight loss or other health goals that could never act on these claims. However, FDA regulations require manufacturers to be specific in labeling to help their customers make more educated decisions. After 1973, nutritional labels must include the number of calories, grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat; and, the percent that a serving of the food presents for the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance. Other vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and vitamin C should also be included.
Some other vitamins and minerals remain optional, such as sodium and fatty acids. However, while these are optional for nutrition labels, they should be included to ensure that the customer clearly understands what your product does or does not contain. Manufacturers are made to follow these regulations, but they do the bare minimum too often. A transparent nutrition label is essential to create an honest product that customers can trust.
When it comes to providing your customers with the most accurate information on your product’s nutrition labels, there are regulations worldwide that dictate how it must be done. However, some products slip through and, later on, are found to include false information. This is a dangerous practice because there are people who need to read these labels to avoid allergies, and it is irresponsible to lie on the label purposefully. Work with a food safety consultant to gain insight and help regarding nutrition labels, USDA labeling, and more. To protect your reputation and the health of your customers, nutrition labels should be transparent. If you aren't sure about the nutrition facts on your products' labels, seek a Food Safety professional to get it right.