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Labels Unwrapped helps consumers navigate food labels to make informed choices.

Food labels are supposed to inform, protect, and empower consumers, but more often they are confusing and potentially misleading. That’s where the Labels Unwrapped website comes in. This website provides a simple, easy-to-use, online resource that explains the “law of the food label.” This project stemmed from the many indicators that the public is often frustrated in attempts to fully understand food labels because the laws and regulations are overly complex and, in some instances, ambiguous. In addition, many small producers are confounded by the regulatory landscape. This resource can help to fill that gap. 

The current site includes the ability to click on different product labeling claims and is divided into different categories that follow the “My Plate” categories developed by the USDA and the Agency of Health and Human Services. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed a “Food Labeling Guide” intended to assist producers with compliance, the guide is very technical and not accessible to consumers, some producers, and other audiences. The Labels Unwrapped site intends to provide an easier-to-navigate and more understandable resource that would serve consumers, producers, and others working in this area. 

This project is funded by the National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

A new Labels Unwrapped website will launch in fall 2020. Stay tuned! 

An illustration of a jar with a label that reads, What's in a label?

Under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, a label is more than just the paper or plastic attached to your food product that includes the product's name. The law defines a label as "the display of written, printed or graphic material that comes with a product" meaning it could also include anything that accompanies the product even if not physically attached.

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