In order to protect consumer rights, there are several rules and regulations governing product packaging. This protects the health and safety of consumers, allows them to make informed decisions, and promotes fair competition through consumer comparison.
The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act has several requirements for product packaging: the packaging must clearly identify and provide an explanation of the product; it must include the name and location of the manufacturer and distributor; and the exact quantity of the product must be specified. In 1992, this Act was amended to include the use of the metric system in quantity description.
These regulations apply to anyone who is manufacturing a product for retail sale, including food items, cosmetics, cleaners, etc. However, it excludes tobacco products and certain food products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) play a large role in enacting and enforcing this legislation.
There is Federal legislation that governs the use of labels on food products in an attempt to protect and fully inform the consumer. There are several pieces of information that must be present on a food label in order to be in compliance with Government legislation: name, ingredients, nutritional facts, nutritional claims, dates, storage conditions, and instructions for use. Food manufacturers must clearly label their product and include all ingredients with their quantities. It is of extreme importance that labels identify any ingredients that are considered allergens in order to keep consumers safe.
Food labeling legislation tightly controls the amount of nutritional claims that a product can make. If the label purports that a product offers additional vitamins, for example, then the nutritional facts must be clearly outlined. In order to keep consumers safe, the label must also include the dates of which a product will begin to expire.