Food labelling is both controlled and given a free hand by food labelling laws, sometimes resulting in dangerous consequences. At the end of the day, we depend on our food manufacturers to be responsible for providing the correct information to the public.
Whether you’re a canned food conglomerate or a homemade jam entrepreneur, it is in your best business interest to practise responsible labelling on your foods. Regardless of food labelling laws, creating clear and truthful information on your foods is essential to building customer trust and loyalty.
Made from Australia and imported ingredients?
In 2015, it was believed that this precise phrase led to a hepatitis panic in Australia. The law-abiding but confusing term “made from Australia and imported ingredients” allowed for tainted berries from China and Chile to sneak into more Australian homes. With no details on the food’s origin, consumers were led to believe that the berries were safe Australian-grown. Thankfully, this incident had helped spark an awareness about food imported foods as well as a movement towards local products.
Added Sugar. But how much?
Meanwhile, in the sugar and calorie-fearing U.S., a food fight started over another food term: added sugar. Food giants the likes Campbell Soup Company and the Food and Drug Administration debated over the use of the phrase. The U.S. food regulators believe that public should know how much sugar (on top of the naturally-occurring ones in raw ingredients) manufacturers add to their products. Campbell argues that differentiating sources of sugar further confuses the consumers. Americans have been fighting the bulge for decades, and they have been winning. Now, all they need is a little help from food manufacturers in giving them the right information.
The ‘added sugar’ issue may not affect Australians, and the local food laws may still have loopholes. Regardless, it is only ethical and responsible for food producers to provide clear basic information about the products. Take it as a business best practice. All it takes is responsible design. It’s all about using the right font sizes and colours to prioritise important information, and testing a mock-up on company people before going into printing food labels.