Packaging Labels

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    Food Safety Product Labeling Must Have Allergens in Mind

    Careful Food Safety Product Labeling a Must

    When you're launching a new food or beverage product, listing possible allergens is one of the most important steps on your to-do list. Unless you take this process extremely seriously, you may be forced to issue a costly recall. Producers of food and beverage products can ill afford to make a mistake or oversight in their lists of potential allergens. This is what makes food safety product labeling an absolute must for food and beverage producers.

    Relevant Rules

    A recent JD Supra article by product liability advocacy law firm Wilson Elser offered a reminder that not only are allergen mislabeling problems serious for companies, they're happening at a worrying rate. For instance, there were 650 food recalls carried out in 2016. That's way up from the 154 that occurred 10 years earlier. Most of the allergen issues are clustered around the eight major allergens that must be labeled per Food and Drug Administration rules: milk, fish, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soybeans.

    Wilson Elser added that food producers' diligence goes beyond checking foods themselves for the relevant allergens - if there is any possibility of cross-contamination with relevant items, that is cause for labeling attention as well. Whether labeling takes place at the production, manufacturing or distribution stage of the supply chain, this is one responsibility that's impossible to set aside. Considering the seriousness of allergic reactions, customers' health could be at risk.

    Diligence in Action

    Packaging safety consultant Gary Kestenbaum, writing for Packaging Digest, noted that many recall apologies from brands explain that the company allocated its resources to areas other than labeling and notification, thus leading to the problems. The author suggested that companies reject this philosophy and have full-scale identification efforts to ensure allergen listings - all other relevant parts of food packaging - are accurate. He explained that while it may seem excessive to add extra steps to production, the savings from avoiding recalls can be considerable.

    While your company may be too small to implement the kind of extensive, multi-individual chain of responsibility recommended by Kestenbaum, his point is well taken: When businesses not only focus on their packaging but have multiple rounds of checking and verification to ensure they haven't missed anything, their food products stand a better chance of going out to store shelves wholly accurate, removing the need for a costly recall down the line.

    Recent Recalls

    There's no need to speak in generalities about the risk of recalls due to inadequate allergen labeling - it happens all the time. For instance, the Department of Agriculture recently reported a recall of 150 pounds of ready-to-eat couscous due to the undeclared presence of pecans. Pecans are a tree nut, one of the aforementioned allergens that producers need to declare in all cases.

    In another recent USDA action, the agency noted 30,537 pounds of frozen burritos were subject to recall. The issue was twofold for the burritos, as they contain egg and soy, neither of which was declared on the packaging. While the couscous problem was noticed by the supermarket distributing the items, the presence of egg and soy in the burritos was flagged as part of a customer complaint. There are numerous ways for labeling inadequacies to come to light, from inspections to input from the public.

    Getting Food Safety Product Labels

    When it's time to print a new batch of food labels for one of your products, there's no need to skimp on quality. After all, you've worked hard to ensure they are completely accurate and reflect the contents of your items. All that effort will go to waste if low printing quality renders the labels unappealing visually. Working with an experienced printer such as Lightning Labels is one way to give your food products a look that can stand out on the shelves while still giving adequate space to ingredients listings and all other relevant info.

    Since Lightning Labels uses all-digital printing processes and works from domestic facilities instead of outsourcing, your labels will arrive in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months. This can be a remarkably helpful factor, ensuring that the printing step doesn't slow down the overall process of getting labels for a new product. Of course, an item's debut isn't the only good time to call on Lightning Labels - you can also commit to a redesign to suit a new season or simply to breathe new life into your branding.

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  • Product Labels: Legal Action Remains Common

    Challenges Go to Court

    Choosing your words carefully is essential when designing product labels, as when customers feel deceived by a package, they don't just stop buying - they sue. There are reputation and financial effects to claims that don't match consumers' perceptions, and letting these matters go to court can prove time-consuming and costly.

    Complying with all relevant labeling laws and restrictions is a starting point for companies, rather than the maximum diligence brands should show. Using phrases that have not been legally ruled on in the past, but are taken as deceptive by customers, could lead to your organization becoming cited as a future precedent, spending a lot of money on settlements before the dust settles.

    Headline News

    The following are three recent examples of incidents when product labeling promises ended up leading to court cases. Each is at a different stage of litigation, but they all serve as illustrative examples of the kinds of things consumers take issue with. From the place an item is from to the nature of its ingredients or even whether it has health benefits or not, these issues run the gamut.

    Costco Pays Nearly a Million

    A recent judgment has cost supermarket chain Costco, to the tune of $775,000. The money may pale in comparison to the heavy lifting the brand now has to do to change its packaging, however. According to Law 360, the issue centered on the word "healthy" with regard to coconut oil. Buyers of the product took issue with the fact that the drink incorporated a heavy dose of saturated fat. Now, to settle the case, Costco has agreed to strike the word "health" and "health benefits."

    In fact, no matter how the suit was resolved, the words would have likely been gone for good. The labeling change was executed during the course of the case, the source noted. In a note that may be relevant to other companies facing legal product label challenges, Costco moved for dismissal in mid-2016 on the grounds that the plaintiffs didn't prove their health had actually been damaged by the saturated fat, but that wasn't enough to sway the judge.

    Ginger Ale Ingredient Listing Questioned

    A separate Law 360 report noted that Canada Dry will have to fight a court battle over its claim that real ginger is present in its soda. The brand asked the judge to call the case off on grounds that it is not precise enough. The judge, however, ruled that the suit will proceed, at least on the core issue of whether a "real ginger" label is deceptive.

    The attorney for Canada Dry suggested that since the brand doesn't make claims about pharmaceutical health benefits, it's not the kind of matter that should be litigated in a fraud proceeding. The judge threw out the allegation that there is fraud occurring but allowed the plaintiffs to rephrase and submit it again. The plaintiffs claim that they would have paid less - or not bought the soda at all - if they knew there was just "natural flavoring" from ginger roots, rather than ginger being directly involved in the creation of the drink.

    Where Is This Beer From?

    The issue of regional origin is a major packaging element. According to a Washington Legal Foundation post for Forbes, it has become the latest battleground for attorneys who want to "earn an easy buck" off of brands. The case promoting this assessment involves Kona, a beer brand associated with Hawaii. The current suit alleges that since the brand's products sold in the U.S. mainland are not brewed on the islands of Hawaii, the packaging is deceptive, even though the company is based in Hawaii and does have a brewery there.

    The same kind of theory is behind a suit that alleges Japanese brand Sapporo is being deceptive with the Japan-centric promotional copy on its products sold and brewed elsewhere. The news provider noted that there has been pushback against this kind of suit - but not enough to stop it yet.

    Are Your Product Labels Ready?

    Once your brand has decided on product label copy that won't end up challenged in court, it's time to print those labels and make them look as visually impressive as possible. This is where Lightning Labels can help. With all-digital processes in place, you'll get your new-look labels in a hurry.

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  • Spice it Up! Update Your BBQ Sauce Labels for National Barbeque Month

    BBQ Sauce Labels Provide A Bold New Look

    When you produce barbecue sauce, marinade and hot sauce products, you add the spice to your customers' meals. But if the BBQ sauce bottle labels for those items are bland or unmemorable, it harms your ability to convince shoppers to give your brand a try. There's no better time than National Barbecue Month to take a look at your sauce line and determine whether an exciting new look could be just what it needs to win people over.

    Adding New Elements

    There isn't just one way to improve BBQ sauce labels. In fact, just about every element of the graphic design can be tuned up and improved dramatically if you focus. As long as you work with a labeling provider that is able to realize your new ideas, you're free to get creative and update your food labels for maximum audience appeal.

    It's the dawn of cookout season, so a potential sales boom is right around the corner. Here are a few particular graphic changes you can employ to catch aspiring backyard chefs' eyes:

    Useful recipes: Maybe people are hesitant to buy a sauce or herb rub if they aren't sure how to use the flavoring. Putting simple directions and suggested ingredients on the package takes away that uncertainty. If you work with a producer of high-quality labels, it will be easy to print the necessary amount of text on the label without it getting blurry.

    Exciting graphics: BBQ sauce and hot sauce are sold on bold personality. You want to communicate to buyers who have never tasted your product that they'll enjoy it, and give them a sense of how it tastes. You can boost your brand's appeal via colorful imagery that evokes a flavor and potentially uses regional symbols to celebrate your local surroundings.

    Seasonal content: You can remind shoppers that it's National Barbecue Month - or just that summer is coming up and it's a great time to grill. Changing elements of your packaging every few months keeps things fresh, and as long as you work with a printer capable of producing reasonably sized orders, you can execute this strategy without waste.

    Reach Your Audience

    Sauces and other BBQ essentials aren't the kind of products that receive media-blitz ad campaigns. The in-store experience, when someone is browsing an aisle, is your chance to make the case for your brand. Your labels are the part of the package that sets your items apart from the rest of the field. Custom hot sauce labels, BBQ sauce labels, spice rub packages and more act as your company's calling card. It's up to you to take the design challenge seriously.

    Once you have a good idea of how you want your labels to look, it's time to find a third party that can turn that vision into reality. Lightning Labels can fulfill that function, with its all-digital processes enabling affordable, short print runs as well as remarkably quick turnaround times. Any new ideas you put onto your BBQ sauce labels in celebration of National Barbecue Month can become physical items in a matter of days, not weeks or months.

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  • Front-of-Package Food Label Calorie Counts Get a Surprising Ally

    Should You List More Information on Food Labels?

    Some food labeling priorities aren't optional - they're required by law. The new look of the Nutrition Facts label falls into this category. On the other hand, there are elements of food product labels that you can either include or leave out based on what you think will resonate most with your customer base. Putting a large amount of nutritional information on the front of a food label is one of these choices. Will consumers appreciate your honesty? This approach has recently receive a boost from an unlikely source.

    Hershey's = Healthy?

    Candy giant Hershey Co. has committed to a wide variety of health initiatives over the next few years, extending from the ingredients it chooses for its confections to the labeling strategies it employs. This includes front-of-pack calorie labels across its individually wrapped candies, in both regular portions and "king sizes." This is a bold approach for a manufacturer of sweets, but it's all part of a plan: Making calorie information easily visible coincides with an effort to ensure each of those candies contains 200 calories or fewer.

    The effort to become a more health-conscious Hershey's will also encompass new king-size packaging details designed to encourage buyers to either share the bigger candy bars with other people or to eat them a little at a time. The dual commitment to reducing calorie counts and displaying them shows the critical elements of a such initiatives: Once you've made products that fit into healthy consumers' diets, it's time to use that content as a selling point.

    Looking at Chile's Example

    Front-of-pack food labeling can serve as an overall indicator of an item's nutritional content, and an especially compelling one, given its prominent visual place. In 2015, the Center for Science in the Public Interest issued praise for Chile's redesign of its labeling laws to ensure that the fronts of items containing high amounts of risky elements receive warning labels.

    The warnings, octagonally shaped to resemble stop signs, advise consumers about to buy products that have large amounts of refined sugars, saturated fat, calories or sodium. The CSPI noted that there was a recommendation that the FDA adopt a system of mandatory front-of-pack labeling, spearheaded by the Institute of Medicine in 2011. The FDA did not react at the time.

    It's All Situational

    As to the effect front-of-pack food labels might have on consumer preferences, Science Daily reported that University of Arkansas and University of Mississippi researchers teamed up to measure these panels' influence. They found that when consumers are evaluating single items, specific labels containing quantifiable information helped them make decisions. In cases when they are comparing multiple items, evaluative labels are more useful.

    Something to Think About

    While your brand presses ahead in dealing with the new Nutrition Facts panel, other labeling options are worth considering. If your products are healthy enough to be selected on the basis of their nutritional content, being more explicit about that information could be a selling point, especially with consumers who value honesty and are impressed with brands that provide facts. If even a giant of the candy world considers itself healthy enough to embrace front-of-pack calorie counts, there is likely a wide-open market for this kind of disclosure.

    Nutritional information, required and optional alike, is one category of element you can include in any labeling redesign. If it's been a while since you updated your food labels, you can contact a provider such as Lightning Labels to see the possibilities for your brand. When you're making a change for one reason - such as getting in compliance with the latest Nutrition Facts revisions - you can embrace other revisions at the same time, adding compelling elements shoppers will appreciate.

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  • Keep Your Custom Labels Relevant

    Learn How Other Brands Have Changed their Custom Labels to Suit Their Environments

    Changing the look and feel of your brand's custom labels is one important way to spark interest among your potential audience. If it's been a while since you redesigned your items' packaging, it's worth considering possible moves that will appeal to consumers and give a clear indication of what your products stand for. Having such an inspired direction is important when working on new branded labels and it can help get the wheels turning to see what other companies have done when it came time to redesign their products.

    Changes Across Categories

    There is no secret formula that points to perfect custom brand labels. Each company is different and you'll have to find an appearance that specifically suits your offerings. That said, there are lessons to be learned from other businesses. You can watch how these companies studied their potential customers, reconsidered their graphic designs, then took actions to improve their items. The following are three separate redesign campaigns undertaken by brands, as reported by Packaging World.

    Reaching the big time: When it's time for a product to potentially reach a large, new audience, it has to look its best. The recent Mike's Hot Honey hot sauce design change was based on creating a more unique and professional-looking appearance when the items went from local to national distribution. The brand opted for a bold new color palate that would reflect the product's hot flavor and hand-crafted creation. Even the finish of the labels changed, with the existing glossy design seen as a poor match for an artisanal item.

    Putting a mascot front and center: When a mascot character becomes synonymous label, custom logo labels can foreground that image to impressive effect. Rogue Ales & Spirits recently revised the bottle design for its Dead Guy Ale, putting the eponymous skeleton on the front of the container all alone. The uncluttered label, with a die-cut look that means the character isn't presented on any background, lets the mascot do the selling.

    Unifying categories: When a brand expands beyond its origins, the moment of growth is a great time for a redesign. That's why Lemi Shine, a household cleaner brand, decided on a full label revamp to coincide with its move out of exclusive association with dishes. The company now offers a wide variety of household cleaners, and the bright new look is meant to make sure the products look distinct from one another and competing items - while still hanging together as a cohesive brand.

    Have the Right Support

    No matter how ambitious or minor your custom label design objectives are, your choice of third party may be the decision that ensures the project's success or sinks its chances. Working with a flexible and fast custom label provider such as Lightning Labels - with quick turnaround times and a variety of available materials and finishes - gives you more opportunities to make your branding efforts successful. No matter what kind of effect you're going for, Lightning Labels can support you on the way to your goal.

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  • Natural Claims on Food Labels: Sometimes Confusing, Always Important

    Food Labels: What Do Consumers Want to Know?

    Any food product could be described, accurately, in dozens of different ways. Knowing which types of claims are most interesting to your consumers, and allowed by government regulations, could transform your labeling strategy for the better. A preoccupation with healthy eating and nutrition is one of the major shopping trends animating present-day consumers, and when it's time for a label refresh, you can implement these elements to improve your offerings.

    Stating the Obvious?

    The power of perception and phrasing when it comes to food product labeling became clear in University of Illinois research, according to Agri News. In the study, consumers were asked which promises meant the most to them. The responses were surprising in that "organic" ranked at the bottom of the priority list, while claims such as "no growth hormones" dominated. There is a special kind of significance to this being the top choice, as growth hormones are actually banned in farm-grown products.

    The researchers noted that the study results show the potential value of making claims on food package labels. Brands that note they have no growth hormones in their food products may have more appeal than those that don't, despite the fact that neither company uses any of those substances, as they are both in compliance with the law. According to Agri Business, there is actually a stipulation that companies claiming "no growth hormones" have to note in small print that of course there aren't growth hormones, as the government prohibits them.

    Customer education on what different terms mean may change the landscape of favored packaging labels. Agri Business reported that Breanna Ellison, the study's lead researcher, pointed to the "organic" distinction as a case in point. When a meat product receives such a label, it means the animals in question were not subjected to many of the processes consumers were asked about - yet they still ranked those individual assurances as more important than "organic." More knowledge about what organic means when not applied to fruit or vegetables, but to meat or poultry.

    Preferences and Requirements for Food Labels

    Sometimes, terms consumers want to see and legal requirements become intertwined. Genetically modified organism labeling is an example of this phenomenon. Agri Business noted that "non-GMO" is the No. 2 concern about food contents, just following growth hormones. Of course, the presence or absence of GMOs has also been a legislative priority over the past few years. The Fence Post recently reported that the Department of Agriculture is currently working on a compliance schedule and rules for disclosure.

    The Fence Post explained that the new administration's chief agriculture aide, Ray Starling has restated the USDA's intention to follow the schedule for labeling rules laid out by congress. That means that by July 2018, there will be clarity about how companies have to state the presence of genetically modified ingredients. The actual roll-out for related labels, however, will be later to allow manufacturers to comply. Starling clarified that the USDA following the law and finalizing the standard won't result in unfeasible compliance deadlines.

    Mandated and Intentional Changes

    Whether your brand changes its food labels to comply with new disclosure rules or as a direct attempt to appeal to a new audience, there's a need to partner with reliable third parties on such projects. This is where Lightning Labels comes in, providing high-quality labels and not requiring large minimum order sizes. That latter fact means that even when changes are mandated, you won't be left with unusable rolls of outdated labels. Transforming your products' look to foreground their natural bona fides can become a powerful differentiator for your brand, promising your audience that their nutritional needs are being met.

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  • 5 Steps to Designing Better Product Labels

    Better Product Labels Catch Consumers' Eyes

    There are ample opportunities to change your brand's packaging strategy for the better. Maybe you want to capitalize on the excitement of a new season. Perhaps a product launch is the perfect jumping-off point to revamp labels across the board. Alternately, rebranding can be a response to pressure from competitors' campaigns. No matter why you make the call, however, you should make sure you employ label design best practices and make the maximum possible impact on your audience.

    Five Top Priorities For Creating Better Product Labels

    While there are infinite ways to meaningfully vary your product label design strategy, large and small, the following five should get your project off to a good start.

    Know your your customers: Good research on what your customers like will serve as a valuable guide for all your packaging and label design decisions. As the World Packaging Organization's Tom Schneider told Packaging Europe, the past few years have seen brands listening to customer opinions more than ever - and the next few years seem primed to continue the trend.

    Balance requirements and appeal: Depending upon your industry, you may have to obey one or several agencies setting labeling requirements. An ideal label design will find room for required elements such as the new Nutrition Facts panel while still finding space for high-impact imagery and compelling branding.

    Tell a story: Packaging World pointed out that instead of repeating information that applies across an industry, brands should look for unique details. For instance, vintners don't need to bother specifying that they make the wine on-site at the vineyard. Instead, they can reach back into their history or process to present details consumers will remember.

    Pick the right material and finish: Label materials aren't all the same. Picking the right match for your unique circumstances will help your custom product labels excel. For instance, bath and body products do better with water- and oil-resistant labels to stay stronger for longer, while earth-conscious brands can opt for green options made from 100 percent post-consumer content.

    Consider variations: Different colors across a line of items can make a brand's product labels more compelling. So can differences by season or one-off versions that tie into events on the calendar. As long as you work with a labeling provider that allows low minimum orders, you can change designs often, printing variations on a theme that keep your branding strategy intact while upping interest.

    Dress Your Products Well

    Your brand's face in the wider world is represented by your product labels. Small and medium companies that don't have large advertising budgets are especially dependent on packaging to tell a brand story and invite customers to try something new. As long as your design is well-crafted to suit your market, it can have a huge positive impact on perception.

    When you have a partner such as Lightning Labels in your corner, refreshing your packaging strategy becomes as easy as it is impactful. Lightning Labels offers a variety of materials and finishes, and its all-digital processes enable you to receive high-quality items with fast turnaround times. Your new labeling strategy can be underway in days, as opposed to weeks or months.

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  • The 'Clear' Choice: Why Clear BOPP Labels are Ideal for Food Product Labels

    Showcase Food In Clear Labels

    When you're in the food and beverage business, an extra bit of labeling flair could be the factor that converts a browsing consumer into a repeat customer. Operating a small brand in the food industry can sometimes feel like a losing battle, with much larger organizations pouring resources into branding and marketing. However, impressive labeling options are within the budget range of smaller organizations, including Clear BOPP Labels from Lightning Labels.

    Give An Inside Look

    When people are purchasing food and beverages, they're really shopping for what's inside the package rather than the outside. A flashy appearance can bring consumers close, but ultimately it's the items themselves that will show the quality of your brand. When food product labels are transparent, they combine the best of both worlds, with great branding drawing people in and the clear segments showcasing the look of the food or beverage.

    Clear labels show that there is nothing to hide and are representative of brands that want consumers to judge them on the quality of their products. Going with the Clear BOPP material from Lightning Labels is a natural choice for food and beverage producers. These labels are water- and oil-resistant, which ensures they'll hold up in consumers' cupboards and still look good when it's time to buy another package of the food.

    Natural Incentive

    When a product is being touted for its natural and healthy qualities, clear labels can be especially helpful. A recent Nutritional Outlook overview of trends in the clean labeling field revealed that simple, minimal packaging is a rising priority. Nosco Packaging Advisor Brent Anderson pointed directly to clear and transparent packaging options as major trends in the health-conscious foods field.

    It makes sense that when consumers are seeking out foods that will be good for them, they're curious about seeing as much of those foods as possible. When two brands are selling similar items, the company with clear labels that allow consumers to assess the quality of the food within may have a credibility leg-up on one that uses text-heavy labels that cover more of the food.

    Change Your Strategy

    When pivoting to a new labeling design, it's important to ensure that the relationship with the responsible third party is thoroughly developed. Lightning Labels not only offers exciting materials such as Clear BOPP, it is a top choice for customer service, turnaround time and overall quality. Custom food packaging labels from Lightning Labels offer several advantages over competitors' options, including low-minimum order sizes. Lightning Labels' all-digital printing process makes it easy to quickly get a new design into production, meaning labeling strategies can turn on a dime.

    If your brand is confident in its food products and ready to demonstrate this boldness to shoppers, Clear BOPP Labels are a great choice. These are eye-catching labels that will hold up under tough conditions and prepare companies to enter marketplaces populated by much larger competitors. The choice of material can set the tone for a whole labeling strategy, with each option sending signals to consumers. Clear labels project authority and promise freshness.

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  • Build Brand Awareness with Custom Branded Packing Tape

    Make Your Brand Stand Out

    Large companies such as Amazon always send distinctive packages, with heavily branded boxes turning up on recipients' doorsteps. There's no reason the big retailers should have all the fun, however. If you find yourself shipping a lot of merchandise directly to consumers, you can put your distinct branding on the containers via custom-printed packing tape.

    Custom packing tape is a little detail that will show your company is confident in its own brand identity. It shows a level of care and visual effort that speaks well for your organization and gives you a wonderful opportunity to send your name and logo into the world without paying for advertisements.

    A Great Choice for Direct Sales

    When your business model involves selling directly to customers via an online storefront, it's good to project professionalism and confidence about that style of transaction. Imagine the difference between receiving a generic box and getting a shipment wrapped in custom tape. The latter implies that your company is committed to the concept of mailing out its products and isn't just dabbling in the field.

    Even if the direct mail side of your business isn't its main source of income, you can benefit from a heavier focus on this type of sales. A local retail operation is confined to a small amount of clientele, while an organization that sells online and can ship around the country or world has access to a much greater territory.

    You can even promote your web address via your custom-printed tape. List a phone number for service, an email address or any other message you think your customers will like to see. When combined with colors that suit your company's branding, there's a great opportunity to catch the eye of the recipient - as well as anyone else who sees the package while it's in transit.

    Order from the Best

    The value that comes with branded packing tape might be negated if the tape itself is of poor quality. This is why it pays to work with a provider such as Lightning Labels, which excels in creating attractive and tough packaging options for your business. Custom packing tape must serve two purposes - it has to look good, to ensure your customers get the message, and it also has to be tough enough to hold up while the item is in transit.

    Lightning Labels offers custom printed packing tape in either three- or two-inch widths, and you can opt to order either 55 or 110 yards of tape. You can order as little as one case of tape to ensure that you get just as much as you need. You're free to combine up to three spot colors on each roll of packing tape, ensuring that your brand's visual identity will get a good showcase.

    You can make even a modestly sized company appear just as professional as the biggest e-commerce players by dressing up shipments in branded packing tape. This is an exciting branding method that puts your company's name and logo in a new place for discovery by consumers.

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  • Incomplete Product Labeling Leads to Recalls

    Are Your Product Labels Up to Date?

    Product labeling is one of the major regulatory necessities any food or beverage producer has to check off when getting products to market. If you make an omission from an ingredients listing or fail to affix a mandated safety label, the result could be a lengthy and costly recall process. When laying out your product labels, you should be mindful of every piece of information consumers are required to know.

    To show what happens when brands fail to live up to these standards, here is a list of recent recalls due to omissions or inaccuracies on product labels:

    Incomplete Listings Bring Recalls

    There are several circumstances that can lead to a product recall. For instance, goods that may be contaminated by unintended ingredients or outside substances are frequently pulled from shelves. This listing will focus only on recalls based on label contents, however. This shows that even if a product itself is manufactured correctly and up to standards, a failure to get the packaging right can still cause a full-scale recall effort.

    1. Gerber Baby Food NBC affiliate KTLX recently reported on Gerber's recall of one of its many baby food products. The item in question, Cheese Ravioli Pasta Pick-Ups, does not disclose the presence of egg allergens as required. The producer's mistake was subtle: Egg does appear on the list of ingredients, but is not present on a "contains" list designed to disclose potential allergens. In worst case scenarios, the product could cause an allergic reaction in people sensitive to eggs who aren't alerted to the ingredient's presence, hence the recall.

    2. Whiskey Hill Jerky The United States Department of Agriculture announced a recall of Whiskey Hill Smokehouse, LLC's jerky products. As with the Gerber situation, these items contain an undisclosed allergen. In Whiskey Hill's case, however, the ingredient is soy instead of egg. This example shows just how wide a swath of products can be recalled, as the order hits jerky made from beef, venison and ostrich meat.

    3. Sunshine Bakery Cakes Sometimes, brands snap into action before a federal agency demands a recall. According to an FDA release issued through US Recall News, Sunshine Bakery decided to voluntarily call back two of its cake varieties - the cassava cake and the mixed nut mooncake. As with the above issues, the problem here is an undisclosed allergen or, rather, several. Sunshine's products contain peanut, coconut, almond and cashew allergens. Some of the recalled items additionally include sunflower seeds.

    4. Picone Meat Specialties In today's final example, 5,750 pounds of salami are going back to Picone Meat Specialties, LTD. The USDA recall is because of the presence of non-fat dry milk. The USDA's statement on this action shows the process behind an agency-mandated recall. The Food Safety and Inspection Service, a division of the USDA, performed a check of Picone's salami and found that there were undisclosed ingredients present. The recall was a direct result due to the fact that non-fat dry milk is one of the FSIS's known allergens.

    Keep Up with Product Labeling

    Clearly, you don't want to end up in one of the situations described above. Avoiding the challenging logistics of recalling 5,000 pounds of salami - or anything else - should be a top priority. When working on label design, you should carefully review them to ensure small mistakes don't end up costing your business time and money.

    Considering the changes coming to food rules in the immediate future, labeling for your products should be on your mind right now even before taking recall risks into consideration. Updated nutrition facts listing rules are coming in the years ahead, meaning you have yet another regulatory compliance hurdle to jump. For all these challenges, however, some elements of the labeling process can be easy - provided you work with the right third party.

    Lightning Labels can be a valuable partner for a small or medium-sized food or beverage producer, offering quick turnaround times and small minimum order sizes. The latter fact may prove especially helpful in the years ahead. Changes to regulations are fairly common, and brands that are forced to order large amounts of product labels at once may end up with noncompliant and unusable labels once new rules pass. Low minimums also leave brands free to redesign their packaging often to let their look change with the seasons.

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