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Essential Information & Product Labels

October 23, 2014
warning-label

Labels are required for all types of products, some being a lot more significant than others. Certain industries have numerous laws and regulations in place to ensure that any and all important information is included on these labels. The reasons outlined below cover some of the common types of labels, and why they are required.

It should go without saying, but all labels should always be visible on a product and should also be very easy to read.

Information

One of the key responsibilities of a label is to inform people about the product. The information provided on the label should be detailed and accurate so the consumer can easily read and understand the information. Some labels are more important than others, one of these is the product ingredient label.

The main purpose of the ingredient label is to inform consumers what’s in the product. One reason for this is because of health concerns. If a product is not labeled properly, it could potentially cause serious health issues for some. People are allergic to many different ingredients that may be in a product, so they need to be able to look at a label to make sure that nothing contained within can trigger an allergic reaction.

The ingredient label is also needed for people on strict diets or those who try to avoid certain ingredients for personal reasons. Ingredient labels have been in use since 1938, which is when US Congress passed new laws mandating that all food products have them. Another requirement for ingredient labels is that the ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance by weight.

Other labels are meant to provide additional and crucial product info to consumers. The nutrition facts label is one of these and it was first introduced almost 20 years ago. Nutritional labels and nutraceutical (supplement) labels are currently in the process of changing again because of new FDA regulations. The changes will bring a new design that makes the info on them much easier to read. The serving size will now be much more realistic, and modifications to required daily nutrients will be updated. 

When it comes to nutraceutical labels the FDA wants to ensure that all nutritional supplements labels are honest and not at all misleading. Supplement labels must comply with the Dietary Supplement Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) for quality control. The new regulations protect consumers by making sure that manufacturers/distributors do not mislead with anything printed on the product label. The manufacturer must also inform the FDA of any serious adverse events from the products usage.

Warnings

Warning labels are another necessary type of label that are mandated by both Federal and State laws. Warning labels are on all types of products, and by law they are required to be there. You will see them on lawn mowers, soda bottles, car mirrors, alcohol, and all kinds of things that you will encounter daily. These labels are for consumers, but they are also for the manufacturer of whatever the label is bound to. Warning labels help to limit civil liability lawsuits against the manufacturer of the product.  

Prescription device and consumer product labels provide identification of the product as well as providing critical usage instructions, patient education information, and medication adherence of providing features to prevent forgeries. In order for warning labels to be legally adequate in the USA they need to warn of the hazards, but they also need the necessary info to avoid the hazards associated with the product. The 3 elements that should be on all warning labels are:

  • The nature of the hazard
  • The consequences of facing the hazard
  • How to avoid the hazard

Pharmaceutical labels actually fall under all of the categories discussed in this post since they have information, warnings, and instructions. According to the laws all pharmaceutical labels need to have the following information on them:

  • Name/Address of Pharmacy
  • Serial number
  • Date Dispensed
  • Name of the Prescriber
  • Name of the Patient
  • Name or Initials of Dispensing Pharmacist
  • Manufacturer/Distributor
  • Directions for Use/Cautionary Statements
  • Expiration Date

Instructions

Another type of label is the instruction/how to label since it can provide key data about how a product works or needs to be set up. In some cases it may merely tell you how to take care of the product.  The first thing most people will look at when they purchase new clothes is the directions so they know how to properly wash the clothing without damaging it.

Instructional labels are on so many products, but they are only mandated by law in some instances. When it comes to clothing labels the US laws do require certain key information. The info that is required to be on textiles, apparel, footwear, and travel goods includes:

  • Fiber Content
  • Country of Origin
  • Manufacturer/Dealer
  • Care Instructions

These are the most common labels that we see on products that we use daily. The laws and requirements are in place to protect and educate us as consumers and regulations are updated accordingly to reflect any changes.

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