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Food Safety With Labeling And Nutritional Information

Today, there is hardly any country in the world where food labeling is not mandatory. All foods that are regulated by the FDA should have a mandatory indication of the ingredients, food value and other details of the food item for the consumer’s knowledge. Today, all canned and processed foods have a nutritional label helping the consumers make an informed choice when they go out shopping and are overwhelmed by the myriad of food items available to them.

Though the nutritional labeling for raw produce has still been kept voluntary, there are many countries that insist labeling be done for raw produce too. A major aim of introducing this food labeling is also to validate the claims of added supplements and fortification of food material with minerals and vitamins made by many.

The nutritional labels, also otherwise referred to as the nutritional facts label or the nutrition information panel, are mandatory in countries like the United States of America, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and many other Asian and European countries.

The food regulation agencies try their best to make available food that is healthy to eat and uncontaminated. To make sure that the food that reaches the consumers is uncontaminated, the packaging and the labeling is also thoroughly checked by the authorities. They make sure that the rules and procedures listed for the safe handling of food are followed to the letter.

Even the safety of the material that the food comes in contact with is checked and thoroughly verified. These contact points are basically the containers and packages in which food is stored and sold. The machinery that processes the food and any cutlery used to handle the food are also checked for any signs of contamination.

Type Of Information In Food Labels

The different information that is contained in the nutrition labels is:

Serving Size: This serving size is purely speculative and is based on an average adult portion size. This helps the consumer in comparing the portion sizes of two similarly priced food products and helps make their decision to buy much easier.

Amount Of Nutrition Per Serving: On each packed food item, the amount of energy in kilo calories is listed. Also listed is a breakup of the source of this energy. The number of calories obtained from carbohydrates, fats, proteins etc. is all given there. A breakup of fat into unsaturated, saturated, trans fats and cholesterol are also mentioned. There is also a list of all the other vital nutrients – vitamins and minerals present in the food items. The amount of these nutrients per serving is also mentioned. Therefore, when you are on a diet it is important that you carefully select those products which have a:
  • Lower calorie count
  • Low amount of cholesterol and trans fats
  • Lower  amounts of sodium
  • Lower amount of saturated fats
Percent Daily Value: There is usually also information on how much of the daily recommended allowances the food item covers.

Submitted on September 22, 2009