What’s the Law on Labels: Ingredients

According to the new Consumer Protection Act the laws with regards to labeling of ingredients now specify that all ingredients used in a food product need to be listed on the product. There are however a few exceptions. One being the exception of produce that does not provide many nutrients. Examples of such products include coffee, alcohol and spices. Labeling on meats, poultry and seafood is also, currently, still voluntary.

Ingredients must be labelled in descending order of content in terms of mass. Towards the end of the label’s ingredient list, ingredients may be listed in any order.

According to www.vital.co.za these include:

  • Herbs and spices not exceeding 2% by mass
  • Vitamins and minerals and their derivatives except in the case of nutritional supplements
  • Food additives

While producers are expected to be totally truthful as to what ingredients, additives and preservatives their products contain, they are still allowed not to list certain preservatives. However, we know that the smallest amount of these chemicals may in fact be extremely harmful and in some cases even result in unknown consequences including allergies, etc.

According to a number of resources, certain flavouring providers are even going as far as renaming their chemicals to hide the fact that their products are not what they claim to be. For example, you could see something like ‘red cherry flavour’, when there are in fact no cherries in the product. This particularly worrying as it means parents and consumers can still be duped into purchasing products we think are healthy but which are actually harmful.

How do you feel about this new law? Do you think that meats, poultry and fish should have labeling, or that products with low nutrient content should also provide ingredient lists?

Sources:

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