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Labels Unwrapped is a user-friendly resource that breaks down the law behind food labels.

Food labels are meant to inform, protect, and empower consumers, but more often they are incredibly confusing. From certifications to various types of health claims, ambiguous and sometimes deceptive language and imagery can make it difficult for shoppers to know what they're eating. That’s where Labels Unwrapped comes in.

Available at labelsunwrapped.org, this user-friendly online resource breaks down the law of food labels using a series of interactive illustrated labels spanning different product categories. Users can hover over the various claims on each to learn more about common marketing terms like “gluten free,” “all natural,” “USDA organic,” “grass-fed,” and dozens more. Straightforward explanations outline what each claim means, as well as how (and if) it is regulated, and by whom. It also includes a “Labels 101” section providing a breakdown of the general law of food labels, as well as a selection of issue briefs related to more pressing and controversial topics. 

The Labels Unwrapped project first launched in 2015 with a grant from an anonymous donor. Its original rendition was a collaborative effort between CAFS and student web designers at Dartmouth College’s DALI Lab. The new website, launched in June 2021, reflects new standards and incorporates new content addressing dietary supplements, plant-based proteins, and the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The goal of this project is to make the law more accessible, ultimately empowering users to take charge of their purchasing decisions.

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

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