Even while conceding to the fact that most consumers probably do not read food labels and labels add to the cost of foods, there is a strong rationale for labelling. Food labelling provides consumers with a breakdown of the primary ingredients and composites contained in a food product and, of course, its calorific value. More recently, and as a result of growing health awareness, carbohydrate value was added to food labels (Charles, 2001). There are several reasons for the mandatory labelling of food products, the majority of which derive from the notion of the right to know and from health issues. As regards the first, consumers have a right to know the composition of the food products they are purchasing so that they can make an informed purchase decision. As regards the second, food labelling information is imperative for the millions who suffer allergies, have health issues or are required to adhere to a certain diet. In other words, the value and importance of labelling can hardly be overstated, especially when considering that allergies can be fatal. Therefore, there is a strong reason and specific purpose for mandatory food labelling but the question is whether or not the purpose of food labelling is satisfied.
Although most all countries have f…
According to Weirich (2007) some countries do not have national laws mandating food labelling while others have made the comprehensive listing of all ingredients and composites, a non-negotiable imperative. In the Middle East, and in compliance with both national laws and international standards, the nutritional information of foods is clearly stated on labels printed onto, and not stuck on, food packages. The mandated information is calorific value, nutritional value, ingredients and additives (Weirich, 2007). Laws in the United States have made the listing of all ingredients, additives, nutritional values and calorific value imperative. Again, labels are printed onto and not stuck on the packages for the purposes of avoiding any possibility of tampering with the labels (Weirich, 2007).
The European Union has, by far, the most stringent of the food labelling policies. According to Summers (2007), EU food labelling policies mandate the inclusion of all information related to nutritional and calorific value, ingredients and additives and, importantly, a clear indication of whether any GM ingredients had entered into the making of the product in question (Summers, 2007). While much of the information printed onto these labels tends to escape the understanding of consumers as it is highly scientific, it is still important. Its importance stems from the fact that consumers who suffer from specific allergies will be able to, when reading the label, determine whether the food is safe for their consumption or not. Its importance is also due to the fact that food labelling provides diabetics and obese consumers with the information they need for the limitation of their intake of