Guest Post – Corina David, Advanced Labeling Systems, Food Label “Educated”

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foodlabelThere are people who might say that sometimes it’s not that good to know too many things. However, when it comes to food and products that have a direct impact on our health and our children’s health, being as informed as possible is very important. When it comes to food, of the easiest things of being informed is by reading the label. In the last 5 years, food labeling has become one of the major public concerns. The reasons are easy to understand. After ‘mediatised’ food scandals, like the contaminated children’s milk in China (2008), or the extra virgin oil that should, but doesn’t always respect the highest quality standards, people have started to want accurate food labels. Luckily, we nowadays benefit from advanced technology and label equipment that is able to cope with the very demanding labeling standards.

What type of food labels do currently exist?

• “Traffic light” labels. This means that the healthiest foods, or ingredients are colored in green while red stands for something we should pay attention to.

• GDA system is based on percentages of daily value for fat, sugar and salt.

• There will be new labels combining the two systems, showing both the color and the GDA.

• Front-of-pack labeling is expected to be the next means of labeling food products.

• Labels stating genetically modified food product ingredients are expected to be approved.

“Light” Label vs. Product Label

To many consumers, choosing the “light label” to actually reading the food label, seems the healthiest option.

To many consumers, choosing the “light label” to actually reading the food label, seems the healthiest option. While not necessarily healthy, it surely is easy. While a product may be low in sugars, it can be very high in saturated fats. Or while it can be lower in fats, it can be very high in sugars. Properly reading the food label is a must and a consumer’s choice should only be made after this step.

Label “Educated”

Product labels and food labels exist. As strange as it may sound, there is still a large number of consumers that need to be educated in the direction of reading them.

A studied published on MedlinePlus mentions that there are huge differences between people who read food labels and those who don’t. The body mass index of women who read the nutritional information is lower than that of those who don’t. The public really needs to be encouraged to pay more attention to food labels.

The irony is that many of us run from red labels, but are not afraid of a large hamburger and some nice chips that go so well with it. According to the same study, the next step should be designing campaigns to promote the use of nutritional labeling on menus at restaurants.

So the industry of food labeling still has a long road ahead of it.

If you are curious to learn more about the journey an ordinary label takes before becoming the food label you read, click here to find more info about the machines that do a great job in keeping us informed.

References:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_129321.html