When Good Labels Go Bad: the importance of food labeling in food safety and avoiding recalls

By Casi Morris

Another Halloween has come and gone, and it was a long weekend full of taunting tricks and tempting treats.

Amidst all those tasty temptations, did you ever stop to think about all the truly scary things which could be lurking inside that candy wrapper?

Most of us take for granted that the label properly identifies peanut butter in the creamy center or dairy in the milk chocolate. And for those amongst us with severe food allergies, we absolutely depend on the integrity and accuracy of food manufacturers to properly identify and label all potential allergens. We assume the listed ingredients are safe. We believe in the brand and its promise to satisfy the consumer.

man-food-shopping-packaging-cpr.jpg´╗┐But what happens when that promise is broken? What happens when there are unidentified peanuts in the chewy center of a cookie, or a snack bar is billed as gluten-free, yet actually made with wheat flour?

Somewhere, somehow, there was a breakdown in the manufacturing or packaging process. The cookie was mislabeled. Or, the wrong recipe was used on a large batch of bars. 

When ingredients are listed incorrectly or an allergen warning isn’t properly noted, a seemingly safe food item suddenly becomes a REALLY scary thing

The scariest part is that this type of thing has actually happened -and, recently.A popular breakfast item waserroneously labeled as gluten-free.  And, a snack for children was subject to a massive recall due to mislabeled ingredients.

We take for granted the purity  of the food we eat based on ‘brand promises’ and assume labels are never incorrect and that all manufacturing processes are flawless. Yet, the fact remains food safety standards and inadequate recipe to shelf processes can create serious consumer problems — not just bad press or loss of revenue (although the financial and brand ramifications are a very real and serious problem for the company).

Thus, we see yet another way digitalization plays a significant part in our everyday world.   Ensuring the safety of our food reinforces the relevance of a seamless, digital food manufacturing process and the implementation of solutions which reinforce compliance and beyond.

And, once again we realize that ingenuity and innovation truly are the keys to a happy and healthy life.

Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at