Everybody involved in the food distribution chain, from product manufacturers to co-packers to distributors, needs to make sure that food product labels are always accurate. Mislabeling food products occurs when the labels do not accurately reflect the ingredients within the product. This can happen by accident if the safety processes are not fully understood at a facility or due to miscommunication, or more seriously, products may be mislabeled deliberately. Either way, incorrect or incomplete information on food labels can be seriously dangerous to customers.
One of the biggest dangers involved with mislabeling food products is that it can expose customers to allergens that could be potentially dangerous for them. With over 160 different foods that cause allergic reactions in certain people with food allergies, it’s so important to ensure that customers are aware that an allergen they might have a reaction to is present in a food item before they buy it. The most common food items that cause allergic reactions are milk, eggs, peanuts, mustard, fish, crustaceans and mollusks, sesame seeds, sulfites, soy, tree nuts, and wheat. These allergens should always be declared on labels when present in food, or when they are present in the same facility that a food item has been produced in.
Mislabeling food products can be done deliberately to mislead customers and get them to pay more for certain food items. In cases like this, foods are often made with certain ingredients, then labeled falsely to mislead customers about the content or concentration of these ingredients. For example, fruit juices or honey might be diluted with corn syrup, but the label will make it appear that there is much more honey or fruit juice present in the product. Some companies combine oils such as olive oil with cheaper alternatives and even add food coloring to products to make it appear that the level of ingredients they claim to use is genuine. Any company doing this is subject to legal action and fines, which is why it’s always better for both you and your customers to use accurate and clear ingredients labeling from Diagraph.
Customers with celiac disease may be seriously impacted by a food product that contains gluten but is not labeled as such. Celiac disease is an immune reaction to gluten, a protein that is found in barley, wheat, and rye. When gluten is consumed by somebody with this condition, it can lead to an immune response in the small intestine. Because of this, it is incredibly important for people with celiac disease and other gluten intolerance issues to know whether or not gluten is present in a product before they decide to purchase and consume it. Sadly, gluten is a very commonly mislabeled ingredient, and many people who have allergies or sensitivities to this ingredient will find out that a product includes it the hard way.
Food mislabeling can be dangerous to customers in many ways. Some people are allergic to some common ingredients, and not being informed of the presence of certain ingredients by the label can lead to serious health issues.