5 Simple Causes of Incorrect Food Labelling

Incorrect food labelling is the most common cause of food recalls globally. Although it may seem like errors in labelling food products is no big deal, there can be serious consequences from such mistakes.
With a greater focus on food labelling by consumers and regulatory authorities, it will just be a matter of time when these errors will start costing your business.  The three main consequences for incorrect food labelling include regulatory action, product recall and consumer action.
Issues that can lead to incorrect food labelling
All actions can be easily prevented by avoiding the following key causes:
  1. Raw material or ingredient substitution
  2. Changes to the recipe
  3. Incorrect cleaning
  4. Change of supplier
  5. Lack of knowledge

Raw material/ingredient substitution

Substituting original ingredients with other ingredients due to unavailability can significantly impact on your labelling and result in incorrect food labelling. Your label would have been developed based on a certain brand or type of ingredient and changes can affect both the ingredients listing and the nutritional data.

Changes to the original recipe

Making changes to your recipe or formulation will render both your ingredients listing and nutritional data incorrect. Any reformulation may also effect finished serving sizes and finished product weights, both of which are required for your label in the nutrition panel and product weight.

Incorrect Cleaning

Improper cleaning of equipment could leave residues of food allergens behind. If these allergens have not been declared on your label or in the ingredients list, you may find your business facing a product recall or even worse killing a customer who may be allergic to certain food ingredients.

Change of Supplier

Changing suppliers may give your business significant raw ingredient savings however different brands may be made up of different compound ingredients (sub-ingredients). This commonly occurs with “pre-mixes” which may have different additives and allergens. A new ingredient supplier premises may also have different allergen exposure than your current supplier. Your finished product may have incorrect food labelling if you have not assessed the impact of the supplier and the raw material on your current product labelling.

Lack of Knowledge

Finally, a lack of knowledge is not a defense for not complying with the law. Regularly keeping up-to-date with labelling laws and reviewing your current labels against recipes and raw ingredient information can help your label compliance. It is imperative that you completely review all packaging proofs prior to printing and using. A simple label review process can save your business a lot of headaches and reduce your compliance risk.

Have your say

Have you got any tips to help prevent incorrect food labelling in your food business? Share your knowledge and experience with the HACCP Mentor community by leaving a comment below this post.

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