(This article is the opinion the author. Etiquette takes no responsibility for any inaccuracies)

Food labelling regulations differ from country to country and it is quite common for these specifications to change among different areas in the same place. Food labelling information required by – let us say – traditional Jewish communities are different to the food labelling requirements Hindu people may have.

Food labelling standardization may thus be a serious problem. Most countries in the world require all food producing industries to follow strict food labelling norms, yet those same regulations are usually not compatible with other countries´ requirements. With globalization effectively reducing the world’s differences every day, food labelling standardization may be an important step to promote international business.

Some international associations in the European Community have tried to standardize food labelling for the past few years with a moderate degree of success. Although the language and cultural barriers may be a difficult thing to overcome, some general guidelines regarding food labelling have been agreed and that is a great step forward in the food labelling standardization problem. Given the importance of the matter, some of the most important issues agreed on food labelling will be discussed below.

Regarding the product name, food labelling must clearly state the nature of the product. There are certain names that can only be used for conventional uses in food labelling, such as ‘coffee’ or ‘green beans’.

Food labelling must include all ingredients in descending weight. Preservatives or other chemical compounds must be clearly identified as what they are and the adequate standardized serial number be used.

Food labelling must include production date and expiration date of the product. Strict rules pinpoint the guidelines in this matter and food labelling specifications may vary depending on the product type.

Food labelling must include recommended storage conditions as well as instructions on how to use the product properly. Also if the product claims particular properties such as ‘low on sugar’ or ‘good for your cardiovascular system’ adequate food labelling information is required to support those claims.

The business name, address and contact information must be included on all food labels. Food labelling must also include the food packager if it differs from the producer.

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