It's All In A Name - Especially When It Comes To Food Labeling

by Jessica Plourde Hutter, on December 8, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 4.22.01 PM.pngSometimes, even common terms can be confusing, leading to calls for reform that can make life difficult for food and beverage companies.

A good packaged food label needs to inform consumers about the contents of the food within. This is easy when the terms used on those labels are broadly understood. However, this isn't always the case. Sometimes, even common terms can be confusing, leading to calls for reform that can make life difficult for food and beverage companies.

For instance, consider the term "whole grain." It seems simple, doesn't it? We all know what whole grains are.

Or do we? 

"If experts cannot agree on the definition of a basic term, consumers will struggle as well. "

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In a recent paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers complained that there is no universally accepted definition of whole grain foods. In fact, the researchers noted that there have been several different attempts to define the term. In 1999, AACC International concluded that whole grains "shall consist of the intact, ground, cracked, or flaked caryopsis whole principal components, the starchy endosperm, germ and bran, are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact grain." In later years, though, alternative definitions arose to take into account the effects of processing.

"Adopting one standard definition for a whole grain food would lead to simplified research, facilitate labeling of whole grain foods and increase consumer understanding of whole grains, helping to ensure a level playing field across all sectors," they wrote, according to Food Business News.

If experts cannot agree on the definition of a basic term, consumers will struggle as well. 

The food industry has an interest in clear, easy-to-understand definitions that they can use when advertising the health content of their products. However, inconsistency in this area can make product labeling difficult. Luckily, an Enterprise Labeling Solution can help firms deal with complex labeling requirements with ease.

Topics:Food & Beverage

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