We all shuddered when we read on the news that the expiration date on the products will disappear. This was explained by saving paint and ink. But the problem is much more complicated, it lies in a different plane.

Of course, this is not true. Such information cannot become a secret even here, where food labels are among the most mysterious in the world. And even in the USSR, where there was practically no consumer information about the product (composition and other information were not indicated then), the release date or shelf life was always present. This time it was proposed to remove not the expiration date, but the inscription on where you can read about it: on the label, bottle, cap or somewhere else. But this is also a bad sign.

Ink against health

The proposed proposal raised a very serious problem. Again, labelsin world are among the most secretive in the world. “We still can’t get important information from them for proper nutrition and maintaining health,” says Program Director of the International Confederation of Consumer Societies (ConfOP) Marina Chernova. “If they wrote in the saved space about how much sugar, salt and unhealthy fats are in the product, we would welcome it.”

 

Here is what they specifically proposed to remove from the label: “data on the addresses of food production, an indication of the places where the date of manufacture and expiration date, signs and pictograms are applied.” “Signs and pictograms are important here, they can be used for so-called health labels”. For example, it includes “traffic lights” or even more effective “stop signs” used in Chile. These are black octagons with a warning about the high content of unhealthy fats, sugar, salt or calories (see photo). These labels have been scientifically proven to help people reduce their consumption of unhealthy foods. Unfortunately, we still have a “traffic light” manufacturers put only voluntarily. But over time, such signs should become mandatory, as in many countries. And the proposal we’re talking about could complicate that.”

What exactly is hidden on the labels

You will not find information on the amount of harmful substances on our labels even with a magnifying glass, it is not there. In most countries, it is clearly and comprehensibly listed in the Nutrition Facts table. We give it for apple juice, please note (see photo), all the information in the table is very easy to read: large black letters on a light background. So it is required abroad. It’s also a really effective way to save paint. Now, if it were approved by law instead of reducing important information. In the meantime, we paint on the entire surface, and then they print a blind text on top of it, the color of which merges with the background. This not only makes the information difficult to read, but also leads to a large consumption of scarce ink.

Plus, the table shows the typical serving size and the content of unhealthy fats, sugar, salt, calories, some vitamins and trace elements. Moreover, not only their number is indicated, but also the percentage of the daily norm. Thanks to this, we learn that in a large glass of juice there is little harmful sodium (1%), a little healthy dietary fiber (2%) and a lot of sugars – 26 g. WHO recommends consuming no more than 50-60 g per day. There is information about other important nutrients.

Now look at the label of our apple juice (photo). From it you can only find out the content of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and calories in 100 g of the product. This meager information is of little use to buyers, such numbers are abstract: what do these grams of proteins, fats and carbohydrates mean – do they contain a lot or a little sugar, cholesterol, salt of harmful saturated fats, etc.? It’s impossible to even calculate. Focusing on such labels, it is impossible to distinguish healthy products from harmful ones.