Understanding Retail Product Packaging Labels

Every package needs to include a label or product information. Many consumers are unaware that there are actually government regulations that state what types of information must appear on labels or packages. Different industries, of course, have different labeling requirements and these requirements include a variety of helpful information.

Basic Regulations

In 1966, the United States Congress passed the Fair Packaging & Labeling Act which includes regulations that apply to a wide variety of consumer products. Each label must include a statement that identifies the product or commodity. The label further must include the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor. Finally, the net quantity of the contents must be included. This can be a weight, a measure or a numerical count.

This act has been amended several times, and recent changes include requiring the place-of-business listing to include online resources, such as a website URL for the company. It also required the addition of more substantial metric information. The European Union has, for several years, pushed the U.S. government to remove U.S. customary units from labels and instead include only metric units. However, our government has yet to make that change.

Additional Food Packaging Requirements

Necessarily, food packaging labels are highly regulated. After all, if you are providing foods or beverages for consumers, it’s important that your customers understand exactly what is contained within your custom retail packaging. A food manufacturer must include all of the general labeling information stated before, as well as some nutritional information.

For instance, your custom retail food packaging must include a list of each of the ingredients in your food or beverage in descending order of predominance by weight. This information also must appear on the same panel of the packaging as the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor.

Regulations also require that you list any major food allergens that might be included in your product, even in trace amounts. These allergens include milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soybeans and wheat. Obviously, people are allergic to many other substances, but those are the allergens that comprise about 90 percent of all food allergies, therefore, this is highly helpful information for consumers.

Nutritional information such as calories per serving, information about fat content, total carbohydrates and information about cholesterol, sodium, fiber, sugars and protein also need to appear on food labels. However, there are exceptions to these rules and special provisions for some products, such as fresh produce and self-service bulk foods to name just a few.

Pharmaceutical Packaging Regulations

Just as with food and beverage packaging, pharmaceutical products also must include specific information to ensure public safety. In fact, as a consumer, you probably have noticed that every over-the-counter medication includes a huge amount of information on its custom retail packaging.

The packaging presented to consumers for over-the-counter medications and prescription medications might be presented in different ways, but it all boils down to providing crucial information about dosage and usage instructions. Additionally, packaging will include information about possible side effects as well as drug interactions. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and there are companies out there that can review your labels and product information to determine whether or not the information complies with FDA regulations.

Products “Made In The USA”

Many consumers will choose one product over another if the product states that it was “Made in the USA,” on its retail product packaging. To ensure that your product was, in fact, created in the USA, the Federal Trade Commission has some restrictions regarding this claim. In order to legally state this information, the FTC states that the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the United States. It is important to note that the United States is meant to include all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and all U.S. territories and possessions, such as Puerto Rico.

This is just a short overview of what might need to appear on your custom retail packaging. Whether you produce a food product, an electric drill, office supplies or another product, we can create custom retail packaging that suits your needs.

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