Incorrect food labelling is one of the main causes of food recalls across the globe. While errors in labelling food products don’t seem like a huge problem, there can be severe consequences from such simple errors.
With more emphasis being put on the labelling of food products by regulatory authorities and consumers, it will not take too long for these mistakes to start hurting your business financially. Label Solutions suggests the 3 main consequences of mislabeling food include consumer action, product recall and regulatory action.
Consequences of Labelling Food Incorrect
Based on the kind of food products you deal in and the type of company you run, there can be varying consequences linked to labelling food products incorrectly. Obviously, the worst-case scenario is one of your customers dying after consuming the products. This can happen if the incorrectly packaged or mislabelled product contains a substance that the customer is allergic to. Other less possible consequences of incorrect food labelling include:
- Private consumer action
- Adverse media exposure
- An increase in company operational costs linked to implementing changes to labels
- Loss of customer confidence in the products you manufacture and your business
- Delayed production
- A loss in business revenue
- Food withdrawal or recall
Common Causes of Incorrect Food Labelling
There are many causes of wrong food labelling including lack of knowledge, supplier change, poor hygiene standards, changes to the recipe, and ingredient/raw material substitution. Let’s take a look at each of these causes and how to avoid them.
- Lack of Knowledge
A lack of knowledge is not a justification for not following the law. Making sure that you stay up to date with existing labelling regulations and reviewing your current food labels against raw ingredient details and recipes can help your label compliance. It is vital that you properly review all packaging designs prior to printing. A careful label review process can save your company a lot of trouble and reduce your compliant risk.
- Changing Suppliers
Changing suppliers may offer your company plenty of raw ingredient savings. However, different products may be comprised of different sub-ingredient (compound ingredients). This often happens with “pre-mixes” which may have different allergens and additives.
A new raw material supplier may also have different exposure to allergens than your existing supplier. Your product may also have incorrect labelling if you have not evaluated the effect of the new supplier and the ingredients in your existing food labels.
- Poor Hygiene Standards
Poor hygiene standards in your business could leave bits of allergens behind. If these allergens are not listed on your ingredient list or food label, you may expose your business to a product recall or cause a customer to fall ill or even die because of consuming products that contain ingredients that they are allergic to.
- Changes to The Original Recipe
Changing your product formulation or recipe can render your nutritional data and ingredient listing incorrect. Any change to the original recipe may also impact the finished product’s weight and serving sizes, which must be included in your label in the product weight and nutritional panel.
- Ingredient/Raw Material Substitution
Substituting original raw materials with other ingredients because of unavailability can seriously affect your labelling and lead to incorrect food labelling. Initially, your label will have been designed based on a certain ingredient or brand. Any changes can impact both the nutritional data and the ingredients listing.