Food Product Labeling:
Consumer’s Issue of
Informative Eating

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The rapidly growing
population and their demand
for food are increasing day
by day. To fulfill these
demands many farmers,
industrialists, and
businessmen are giving their
best. Most of the processed,
fermented, and preserved
food products are
manufactured and their
shelf-life is maintained with
proper packaging and
labeling. Labeling is done to
make people aware of the
ingredients used, nutritional
values, date of manufacture,
and expiry.
Knowing where foods
come from and how it was
produced allows consumers
to be informed about the
impact of food on their health
and the health of the planet.
But, due to ignorance
and lack of awareness many
food items are being wasted
causing a negative impact on
health as the use of such
food products are still
common among us.
In order to reduce the rate of
processed food wastage,
proper labeling is the most
important factor. As already
mentioned, labeling includes:

  1. Name of product
  2. Ingredients used
  3. Allergen information
  4. Quantitative declaration of
    ingredients and nutritional
    value
  1. Net quantity
  2. Storage condition and
    date labeling
  3. Name and address of the
    manufacturer.
    Different items use
    different kinds of terms. The
    dates are often used for food
    products, medicines,
    pharmaceutical and
    nutraceutical products. First
    of all, we need to understand
    that whatever the date or
    type of date it is, it cannot be
    a wild guess or based on
    mere experience. A
    manufacturer or packager
    has to declare this on every
    consumer or retail pack and
    has to be based on solid
    evidence and facts, i.e. Shelf
    life study. It is both real-time
    as well as accelerated. Now
    coming back to the most
    used date types, they are:
    Expiry date:
    The expiry date of
    any food product is that date
    which tells consumers the
    last day a food product is
    safe to consume. Simply it is
    the date beyond which the
    food product is not safe for
    consumption.
    Best before date:
    Food that has
    been stored properly is still
    safe to eat after the best-
    before date. One simple way
    of minimizing waste is to
    look, smell, and taste the
    food. Trust your senses – if
    they tell you that the food is
    still good, feel free to eat it.
    The best-before date
    does not refer to safety but

to how long the product will
retain its quality: flavor,
colour, crispness, resilience,
and firmness. Quality
gradually deteriorates after
the best-before date. But the
food may still be perfectly
edible.
The best-before date
assumes that the food has
been stored properly. The
label will often tell you what
the proper storage
procedures are. If
temperature affects durability
time, it might say, “Chilled
food: do not store above 8°
C” on the package. The
colder you store food, the
longer it lasts. There’s a big
difference between 4-5° C
and 8° C in that respect.
Under the heading to the left,
you will find advice on
storing different kinds of
food.
While the best-before
date assumes that the
container is unopened, the
item may keep longer than
that even if it has been
opened. For example, an
open carton of milk that has
not been outside the
refrigerator very long may be
good for several more days.
Use by date:
Manufacturers specify
a use-by date if they think
that the product can
deteriorate quickly and
become a health risk. The
use-by date is the last day
the manufacturer guarantees
that the food can be
consumed without putting
your health at risk.

Foods with an expired use-
by date may not be sold or
donated.

Food Product Labeling:<br>Consumer’s Issue of<br>Informative Eating 1

Who sets the best-
before and use-by date?
All packaged food is to
be labeled with a best-before
date – or a use-by date in
certain cases. Fresh fruits
and vegetables, as well as a
few other items, are exempt
from the requirement.
The company that is
responsible for the product,
usually the manufacturer or
packager, determines its
expected durability time.
Date labels are often linked
to storage instructions.
Everyone who handles the
food, from the manufacturer
to the retailer, is responsible
for making sure that it is safe
and that it is shipped and
stored according to the
instructions.
Typically, manufacturers
use ‘best before’, ‘use by’,
and ‘sell by’ to give
consumers an idea on

days for which a product
remains safe. Arriving at
these dates require a lot
tracking system in the
background to identify
product details, year of
manufacture or crop
harvesting date and possible
expiration dates.
Checking of Expiration
Date by Lot Number
Identification. The content, format, and
syntax of the lot number can
vary from one enterprise to
another, depending on the
desired degree of precision.
The lot number can identify
all the products made in a
day at the facility or products
produced in an hour from a
single individual packing line.
It could also be unique to a
single recipe run and is
found on a product in various
places including:

  1. Within your lot tracking
    or ERP software
  2. On the outside
    packaging so it’s visible
    to consumers
  3. Within the supplier or
    manufacturer records.
    How to Find Expiration
    Date by Lot number: –
    Lot number example:
    200322403
  4. The first two digits (20)
    refer to the year of
    manufacture (2020)
  5. The next two digits (03)
    identify the month the
    product was manufactured
    (March) or the date of
    manufacture
  1. The following two
    numerals (22) refer to the
    day of the year
  2. The next figure (4) is the
    company plant number
  3. The figures (03) represent
    the product batch of that day
Food Product Labeling:<br>Consumer’s Issue of<br>Informative Eating 2

The trend and
concept of consuming food
products without seeing the
product’s label is a major
issue in our nation. Many
health issues can be
overcome if we know what
we are eating. The
information regarding our
food product can be best- obtained from the food label.
Therefore every consumer
must develop a habit of eye
eating that is observing
product information with our
eyes, thinking with our mind, and eating with our mouths. Therefore, to stay healthy
one must eat healthy and
have a complete knowledge
on all these product labeling
concepts.


By: Sudip Devkota
Sunsari Technical College
Btech. Food

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