The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) is publishing a report showcasing many misleading tricks that food makers commonly use on labels across the EU. The report Food labels: tricks of the trade highlights three practices that sugar-coat the actual quality of foods and drinks:
- Industrial products being labelled ‘traditional’, ‘artisanal’;
- Drinks and dairy with little or no actual fruit displaying fruit pictures;
- Breads, biscuits, pasta, etc. with barely any fibre labelled as ‘whole grain’.
The problem mainly stems from a lack of EU rules defining in which cases manufacturers can use such terms. BEUC has set out recommendations for the EU institutions to make food labels more honest.
Consumer organisations from 10 countries that are part of the BEUC network have unveiled those deceptive practices.1 The three categories highlighted in the report may be just the tip of the iceberg.
Report: Food labels:tricks of the trade
Information on the origin of raw materials contained in dairy products has become mandatory in Italy.
According to the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, the new measure, which came into force on April 19, applies to dairy products such as UHT milk, butter, yoghurt, mozzarella, cheese and curd.
It applies equally to milk from cows, sheep, goat, buffalo and other animals.
A critical part of Arla’s brand identity is being able to guarantee freshness and provide their customers with accurate product information. However their unique set-up, as a company consisting of more than 70 dairies around the world, presented a range of challenges in their quest to provide accurately labeled products. The company needed a single solution with a standardized method of integration between each dairy’s label and direct marking printers and the Manufacturing Execution System (MES).
Using NiceLabel’s label management system, Arla was able to automate printing by implementing a standardized integration with the MES at each dairy. Now, master data flows directly from the MES to the printers, eliminating manual data entry errors, mislabeling and the associated costs. By introducing centralized label management, Arla have a more transparent label management process that helps them ensure accurate product and production data throughout the entire label printing process. The company’s centralized IT team now provides 24×7 support to each site, rapidly addressing issues before they result in production downtime. In addition, Arla can remotely monitor all activity and diagnose errors.
Agriculture minister Capoulas Santos announces that Portugal has received EU authorisation to approve a new law that will make it obligatory for national dairy products to carry a special “produce of Portugal” label.
The only other country that has achieved similar authorisation is France, he said – and the idea behind the move is to show nationals where their best option lies, as “Portuguese milk is known for its excellent quality”.
Twenty-five bipartisan members of Congress say if it’s from soybeans, almond or rice, it should not be labeled as milk. They ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate and take action against manufacturers of “milk” that doesn’t come from cows.
They want the FDA to require plant-based products to adopt a more appropriate name, other than milk, which they say is deceptive.