How to label food products

How to label food products

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What are the key features of food labels? The correct methods of labeling agri-food products are one guarantee for consumers. In this way you can be informed in a non-misleading way about the nature and product characteristics of the product you buy.

The label on the food product it also serves to protect producers from forms of unfair competition from other companies that report incorrect information and do not correspond to the characteristics of the foods they offer for sale. For example, for i Organic products, the Bio logo has become mandatory and aims to intensify checks to ensure the transparency oflabel.

Community and national legislation are increasingly improving the relevant legislation in order to achieve labeling that is as transparent and not misleading as possible. The Community and national regulations in force on labeling refer to a wide range of agri-food products ranging from olive oil, to beef and poultry, to dairy products, eggs, to finish with honey, chocolate and, lastly, medicinal plants whose food as well as therapeutic uses are increasingly spreading.

The food labels are different depending on the product: some have many indications, others very few. The reasons for this difference are related to both the legal requirements and the type of product packaging.

Food products are distinguished from pre-packaged and pre-wrapped. While the former are packaged directly by the manufacturing companies, the others can be wrapped directly inside the store (supermarket or shop).
Pre-packaged products must bear all the information listed above; for pre-wrapped products, certain information can be excluded, such as the place of origin, production, headquarters and addresses.

How to label food products. Characteristics of the label
For the European Community, the label of a food product must reflect the following characteristics.

  • Understandable: readable and easy for the consumer to understand.
  • Transparent: true and such that it can compare multiple similar products with the same criteria, therefore indications.
  • Relevant: information that is inconsistent with the product must not be indicated and must not mislead the consumer.
  • Verifiable: subject to checks by public officials who verify the veracity of the data reported, both with respect to the manufacturer's instructions and the law.

How to label a food product. Mandatory indications
According to the law, the indications in Italian, to be reported on the label of a packaged food product, are as follows:

  • the sales denomination
  • the list of ingredients
  • the net quantity or, in the case of individually prepackaged products, the quantity of each package
  • the minimum shelf life or, in the case of products that deteriorate quickly, such as fresh products, the expiry date
  • the name or company name (or registered trademark) and the registered office of the manufacturer or packer or of a seller established in the EU
  • the location of the manufacturing or packaging plant
  • the actual alcoholic strength by volume for beverages that have an alcohol content greater than 1.2% by volume
  • a wording that allows to identify the batch to which the product belongs
  • the methods of conservation and use when the food product requires special precautions: this according to the nature of the product
  • instructions for use, when necessary
  • the place of origin or provenance, when, by not placing it, the buyer can be misled as to the origin or provenance of the product
  • the quantity of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients that distinguish the food product from similar ones (characterizing).

Pre-packaged products must bear all the information listed above; for pre-wrapped products, certain information can be excluded, such as the place of origin, production, headquarters and addresses.

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