Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Be Printing Prepared Food Labels In-House

Posted on by Kelsey Sullivan

printing prepared food labels in-house
Many companies outsource their product labels to save on costs and maintain production efficiency. But when you break it down, is outsourcing really the most efficient route? Depending on your business size and needs, it could be more beneficial printing prepared food labels in-house.

Here are our top four reasons why taking label production in-house can be the better option:

1. Outsourced Printing Comes at a Price

While using another facility to produce your prepared food labels might seem like a giant weight off your shoulders, it may not necessarily be the case.

Outsourcing can end up severely delaying your labeling process, costing your business valuable time and money.

For example, if an outsourced label shipment becomes delayed, so will the orders your company was scheduled to have in stock and on the shelves. These delays will happen, as do errors.

print grocery store labels

Misprints can cause setbacks and affect the use by/sell by dates on your products. This is especially true for made to order businesses and prepared foods.

The best way to avoid these dilemmas is investing in a small, short-run digital label printer to easily bring production in-house.

On implementing short-run digital label printers in-house, Impression Technology Europe reveals, “Not only is the initial investment much more affordable but the cost per print is extremely low. After doing the math, most clients will find it will be much more cost effective than outsourcing and based on the output.”

Our main alternative to outsourcing, investing in an in-house digital label printer will not only save you time, but also reduce cost-per-label.

2. NOT ALL ENVIRONMENTS ARE CREATED EQUAL

Printing prepared food labels in-house has its benefits when varying environmental requirements come into play.

printing prepared food labels in-house

Just because some prepared foods need to be frozen, doesn’t mean the quality and appearance of your packaging should suffer. It’s important for your store’s frozen foods to remain cohesive with the rest of your prepared food line. After all, it is your brand.

However, using the wrong label for the products environment can lead to wrinkles due to condensation, fading due to exposure or loss of adhesion and labels falling off.

If your business is using regular pre-printed labels, chances are, the labels won’t hold up in your storage environment.

Ultimately, finding the correct label material is just as important to your printed results as your design. QuickLabel has developed special materials that are capable of absorbing the inks so that printed labels do not smear and reproduce the most accurate colors possible.frozen food label printer

The ability to maintain complete control over your label materials and printing process will allow your business to have a streamlined, efficient process with branded labels that look the part.

One example of easy in-house printing solution is QuickLabel’s flagship Kiaro!Kiaro! D or wide format QL-800 inkjet label printers. These printers are known for printing frozen food labels that are extremely durable and still generate high-quality 1200 – 1600 dpi imagery.

With the right in-house printer, you’ll have professional frozen food or beverage labels printed instantly and can be applied to products that are already frozen, or before they go into the freezer.

3. It’s Not Easy to Keep Up with FDA Regulations & Demands

Keeping up with the FDA’s changing regulations and formats can greatly affect your product labels. If standards are not met, your entire product line could suffer from massive recalls.

label nutrition facts tableThis intimidating process includes font restrictions, mandatory statements, allergen alerts and stringent calculations for daily values.

As a food manufacturer or grocer, you want to spend your energy on your recipes, production, branding and sales – not on interpreting FDA labeling mandates.

While it is absolutely necessary to adhere to FDA regulations to avoid recalls and present your customer with the quality and transparency they deserve, you can make it easier on your business.

printing prepared food labels in-houseThis is where an in-house label printer truly shines. For every change in date, rule, format, etc., you have the ability to immediately customize your labels on the spot.

Printing prepared food labels in-house gives you the ability to print the exact number of labels you need for what’s in-stock, on-demand. Meaning no more wasted labels, no more overstock and no more falling short.

This gives you more flexibility in your printing process, as well as introducing the option for seasonal or promotional packaging.

4. Things Are Better When You’re in Control

Your labels are the face of your brand, so you always want to maintain professionalism and put your best foot forward.

If you want to be in control of your business and remove exterior dilemmas, it may be time to consider printing prepared food labels in-house.

printing prepared food labels in-house

If you’re interested in high-quality, short-run label printing in-house, feel free to view our line of complete labeling solutions, including software, media and a wide range of digital label printers from monochrome barcode printers to photographic inkjet color labeling systems and presses.

Or, if you’d like to speak with one of our field sales engineers or media specialists, feel free to contact us for more information! They would be happy to work with you to find the right solution for your application.

 

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and connect with us on LinkedIn.

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4 Reasons Why You Should Be Making Your Own Food & Beverage Labels

Posted on by Kelsey Sullivan

Many companies outsource their product labels to save financially and produce efficiently. But is outsourcing really the most efficient route? For small to medium sized business owners, outsourcing is not always the best solution. Depending on your business size and needs, you may be better off making your own food & beverage labels in-house.

Impression Technology Europe explains, “Recently, another type of printing has become more attainable for smaller companies…digital ‘short run’ label printers. Not only is the initial investment much more affordable but the cost per print is extremely low. After doing the math, most clients will find it will be much more cost effective than outsourcing and based on the output.”

How do you know if this is right for you? Here are four reasons why you should be making your own food & beverage labels in-house:

1. Outsourced Printing Comes at a Price

We mean that both literally and figuratively. While using another facility to generate your food labels might seem like weight off your shoulders, that may not be the case.

Passing the task to an outside source can end up severely delaying your labeling process. Why? Not only will you have your company’s shipping schedule to track, but the arrival of your outsourced shipment as well.

If an outsourced shipment becomes delayed, so will the orders your company was originally scheduled to deliver. For small business owners, this can lead to a lot of unhappy customers or market vendors.

These delays will happen, and so do errors. Labeling errors can take more of a toll on your business production line than a delay in shipment.

The unexpected misprint forces your business to return and reorder labels. Misprints can cause setbacks and affect the use by/sell by dates on your products. This is especially true for made to order businesses, which can lead to wasted products.

If your business has experienced these delays, you may want to consider an in-house or on-demand label printer. With the ability to print labels in your own facility, there will be no more error or shipment delays affecting your product line. What’s more, these printers give you the ability to create your own use by/sell by dates with complete label customization.

2. Not All Environments Are Created Equal

Making your own food & beverage labels is also a huge plus when selling products that must be stored in specific environmental requirements.

It’s important for frozen foods to have unique and attractive labels, too. After all, it is your brand. But, it’s equally important that your frozen food labels don’t fail. Using the wrong label can lead to wrinkles due to condensation, fading due to exposure or loss of adhesion, falling off in low temperatures. One should not be sacrificed for the other.

If your business is using regular pre-printed labels, chances are, the labels won’t hold up in your storage environment.

The ability to maintain complete control over your label materials and printing process will allow your business to have a streamlined, efficient process with branded labels that look the part.

An easy in-house printing solution is QuickLabel’s Kiaro! or Kiaro! D inkjet label printers. Both printers are known for printing frozen food labels that don’t peel off in high-quality 1200 dpi imagery.

With the right in-house printer, you’ll have professional frozen food or beverage labels printed instantly and can be applied to products that are already frozen, or before they go into the freezer.

You can check out both options here.

3. Keep Up with FDA Regulations

Of course, keeping up with the FDA’s changing regulations and formats can greatly affect your product labels.

The intimidating process includes font restrictions, mandatory statements, allergen alerts and difficult calculations for daily values.

As a food manufacturer, you want to spend your energy on your recipes, production, branding and sales – not on interpreting FDA labeling mandates or trying to explain the requirements to an outside vendor.

However, it is absolutely necessary to adhere to FDA regulations to avoid recalls and present your customer with the quality and transparency they deserve.

An in-house label printer is especially valuable in these situations. For every change, the label design and format can be immediately customized in your own facility.

What’s more, by owning an in-house label printer, you don’t have to worry about overstock or wasted labels due to changes in regulations. This gives you more flexibility in your printing process, introducing the option of seasonal or promotional runs.

Making your own food & beverage labels gives you the ability to print the exact number of labels you need for what’s in-stock, on-demand.

4. You Deserve to Be In Control of Your Business

Your labels are the face of your brand, so you always want to put your best foot forward.

With outsourced labels, you don’t get to have complete control over your labeling process. Edits take longer, shipments get delayed and labels are bound to be wasted.

In-house printing has evolved with small, tabletop label printers for businesses. These label printers serve as a central database, with the ability to store, revise, locate and print any design on-demand –ultimately opening new doors for small to medium sized businesses.

If you want to be in control of your business or are experiencing any of the above labeling issues, it may be time to consider taking your production line in-house.

QuickLabel specializes in on-demand, tabletop label printers. For someone in the food and beverage industry interested in quality, short-run labels, they are worth looking in to.

Click here to view our full product lineup, or contact us for more information!

 

Feel free to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and connect with us on LinkedIn.

 

 

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Packaged for Your Valentine: Is Seasonal Packaging Worth It?

Posted on by Kelsey Sullivan

It’s that time of year again. You’re probably used to seeing pink and red hearts, fluffy bears, seasonal packaging and Cupid whizzing around by now. As soon as the winter holidays come to a close, it’s time to share the love.

But does it really work?

Do consumers really prefer the Valentine version of your product?

According to Packaging Digest, 65% of US consumers prefer seasonal packaging to regular packaging.

That means over half of US consumers are more likely to reach for the seasonal themed batch of goods. It’s all about the visual appeal.

Think about it, the main reason chocolates and baked goods are purchased during the month of February is due to the nature of Valentine’s Day. In spirit, the consumer will reach for the red heart chocolate bag instead.

According to the Complete Guide to Seasonal Packaging by Mary Davies, “in order to stay competitive with the big brands it is essential that you adopt seasonal packaging.”

In a Label & Narrow Web article, Superbrands founder Marcel Knobil supports Davies statement by expressing, “Thanks to impressive print packaging, brands can seduce customers into a change of purchasing vote at the point of purchase. We would end up with less brand and more bland were it not for the attention that the packaging attracts.”

So seasonal packaging is the right idea, but how do you know if it’s the right idea for you?

Unfortunately, it does depend on what industry you are in. A company that sells plastic tubing would not benefit as much as a company known for their gourmet chocolates.

Davies expands, “a bakery is much more likely to benefit from changing their packaging than a stationary supplier. Think about your business model, your products and your customers and then decide whether there would be a benefit to using seasonal packaging.”

So if seasonal packaging is right for you, there are two important things to remember before you get started:

  1. Don’t confuse your customer
    By not make your designs similar to another product you already offer, it could confuse your customer and cause them to shy away from the product altogether.
  2. Don’t overestimate
    If you don’t have your own in-house label printer, it’s easier to make your packaging labels a limited time offer vs. overstocking on labels that will ultimately go to waste.

Whether you are a business small or large, it is definitely worthwhile to invest in seasonal packaging.

But where do you start?

To get the creative juices flowing, we’ll leave you with Hornall Anderson’s top tips of incorporating holiday packaging into your business:

  1. Create a tradition
    Pair your product with something extra in the spirit of the season, and keep it going each year.
  2. Make collectibles
    Packages that are part of a set or able to be repurposed in an innovative way.
  3. Make gifting easier
    Gifting through unique or personalized packaging is beautiful enough to be a gift itself.
  4. Create a campaign
    Build “fanfare” around your product launch.
  5. If you can’t avoid clichés, have fun with them!
    Look for visual and tonal treatments that evoke the season without being overly dependent on overused symbols, or look for ways to turn them on their head.

Interested in creating seasonal or in-house labels today? Check out our website to learn more.

 

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and connect with us on LinkedIn.

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Jody’s Popcorn Labels POP! with the Kiaro! Label Printer!

Posted on by Kelsey Sullivan

In Virginia Beach, Jody’s Popcorn sells freshly made, caramel coated, chocolate drizzled and savory popcorn snacks. With their unique line of product flavors, they rely on their Kiaro! label printer to produce the famous popcorn labels that pop!

What Makes It Gourmet?

jodys_bagsMichael Katz, Vice President of Jody’s Popcorn, explains, “People often ask what gourmet popcorn is. What gourmet means to us is that we use the highest quality ingredients that we can find because we are very concerned about our flavor profile and the quality of our product.”

We traveled to Virginia Beach to get a taste of what Jody’s Popcorn is made of, and see how they use their QuickLabel printer to make their popcorn labels look as good as their freshly popped batches taste.

It’s About Quality AND Quantity

“Our quality is not just about the product, but the overall experience at Jody’s,” stresses Katz, “At our oceanfront store, we make freshly popped popcorn right there.”

While the quality of their popcorn is priority, their quantity demands (no matter how big or small) are important to them as well.

popcornMichael Katz explains, “The oceanfront store grew in popularity. We had lots of demand for our products, so Jody’s leased facilities that were able to produce much larger quantities of popcorn. We were then able to label that product and offer a much wider variety at our oceanfront store, also satisfying the needs of whole sale customers.”

But with that expansion, Jody’s needed a reliable printer that could take on their growth, as well as take care of quick in-store demands. As the business grew, so did Jody’s product line. It became less affordable to order thousands of popcorn labels for all of their many flavors, changing order sizes, and special requests for custom labeling.

“What we had before was outsource printing,” explains Katz, “We were making a lot of products and sending a lot of products to be outsourced. But the cost of having all that inventory sitting on our shelves didn’t seem to make much sense.”

QuickLabel Meets Jody…

Looking for a short-run labeling solution, Jody’s found QuickLabel Systems and the Kiaro! label printer.

michael_katz_kiaroKatz quickly discovered how easy it was to operate a Kiaro!, stating, “My concern then came, how difficult is that to operate? And it was really very simple. Anybody that could operate a printer can operate this printer.”

“When I first saw the Kiaro!, my initial impression was, ‘Wow! It’s not drab, and I’m not interested in printing anything that’s drab.’ So I really connected with that,” reveals Katz, “Once I looked at it operate, I was impressed with the quality of what was being ‘spit out,’ if you will, as finished product. These labels were just coming off and they were beautiful.”

QuickLabel’s Kiaro! Saved Them Time & Money

“Our ability to flourish in both the promotional products industry and the whole sale business has been greatly enhanced by our ability to create custom labels. That gives us the ability to very quickly customize a package for customers. If a particular customer wants to have their farm store on it or their gift store, we’re able to produce that here, quickly, in our facility and put that on the bag and get it out the door,” Katz states.

“There are times when we find that we forgot to order a pre-printed label and we need it right now, or we’ve ordered it, but there’s a problem at the printing company and they can’t deliver the label at the time we expect,” Katz explains.jodys_labels

He expands,“With the Kiaro!, we not only use it to print our custom labels and small quantity product labels, but we also use it as a back-up printer. We can print exactly the same label we send out for our large-runs of pre-printed labels, and the Kiaro! labels look indistinguishable from an outsourced label. It is really a wonderful situation.”

“The Kiaro! printer has saved Jody’s time and production. The amount of time it takes for us to produce a custom job has decreased greatly. We can literally have somebody walk into the printing area and say ‘I need this’ and turn it around in 10-15 minutes,” concludes Katz.

Want More?

To learn more about how the Kiaro! color label printer can save you time, money, and provide you with gorgeous customized color labels, click here.

Or contact us today by giving us a call, sending us an email or deciding to schedule your own Kiaro! demonstration!

About Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn

Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn of Virginia Beach, VA makes fresh, delectable kettle corn, caramel corn, and flavored seasonal popcorn for all the world to love. Shop in-person at their beautiful ocean front store at 31 Ocean Shops, or online at www.JodysPopcorn.com.

If you’d like to sell Jody’s Popcorn in your own retail store, wholesale pricing and quantities are available. Jody’s makes a great fundraiser for your school or organization with custom packaging for special events and other special orders.

To contact Jody’s, please call 866.797.JODY or visit their Facebook page.

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Doc’s Tea Prints On-Demand With Their Kiaro! Label Printer

Posted on by Kelsey Sullivan

Doc’s Tea is a handcrafted, small-batch beverage brewed by a family of dental health professionals dedicated to a healthy lifestyle. Recently, Dr. Ken Banks, owner of Doc’s Teas, began printing his own labels with the Kiaro! inkjet label printer in order to increase productivity, reduce cost, and dramatically improve label quality on all of their products.

“When I first saw the Kiaro! print I was amazed,” said Dr. Ken Banks, “I was impressed with the application process of the labels with our bottles and the look of the labels.”

We traveled to the home of Doc’s Tea, Inwood, West Virginia, to document how the maker of healthy, low-sugar, bottled sweet teas has increased their production speed, reduced their costs, and enhanced the look of their labels by using a Kiaro! label printer to print their own labels.

“We make our product on demand so that we can deliver a fresh product, not one that’s brewed, bottled and then stored,” said Dr. Ken Banks. Because Doc’s Tea doesn’t allow their teas to sit on shelves, they needed a solution that allowed them to print labels instantly, which eliminated the waiting time and inventory difficulties that come with ordering outside labels.

“The Kiaro! label printer fits in so well for us because it is allowing us to do small batches, to have high quality labels, not to have a large inventory,” says Dr. Ken Banks, “it allows us to brew on demand and to print on demand.”

See for yourself! 

Doc’s Tea, and countless others, have found that printing labels on-demand and in house just makes sense. Schedule a demonstration of a Kiaro! label printer with one of our regional sales managers, who will take a Kiaro! to your facility, and show you what an in-house label printer can bring to your business.

 

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The Art of the T’ART

Posted on by Kelsey Sullivan

Our Labels Are Easy As Pie (Or, T’ART)!

One of our favorite customers took the time to talk to us about her great products, and how she utilizes the QuickPrint digital label printing service.

Picture this. An impromptu dinner party with your closest friends after a long productive day at work. Here you will serve a lovely meal, and a beautiful (professional looking) raspberry and white chocolate T’ART that sends sweet smells wafting through your home. Meanwhile, your friends sip on (just one more) glass of wine. Picture this, without the stress of rushing around trying to prepare for your guests arrival, AND without worrying about how your dessert creation will turn out. Picture the delight on your friend’s faces as they admire and enjoy the beautiful T’ART.

This doesn’t have to be a daydream thanks to Linda Amir. Her company Amour Creations sells an amazing product called T’ART.

Linda had other things on her mind when she arrived in France at age 15 to be the au pair to a family she had never met. Quickly she began to experience the French culture and history. A major aspect of this was French food and cooking. With the help of the children’s grandparents she found fresh ingredients daily and quickly learned how to whip up a delicious tart. And so began Linda’s love affair with baking.

Fast forward several decades and Linda is happily married (soon celebrating her 30th anniversary!), with two grown children. After dreaming about selling her T’ART mix and talking about it with friends and family, Linda attended the Fancy Food trade show. That’s when she decided it was time to go for it, and develop her T’ART mix product for sale. Lucky for us!

However, developing T’ART was a long process for Linda. After trying several options for labels, none of which provided a high quality with an affordable price, she was referred to QuickLabel. Linda has been thrilled with her experience working with our Digital Label Printing Specialist, Becky Swartz.  She told me that, “Becky has helped me from day 1 in terms of learning the lingo and process, pricing and production.”

Becky has been working on a very exciting opportunity with Linda recently, and has been very helpful.  Linda described Becky’s mentality as, “It’s never a no-it’s always let me see what we can do, and she always DOES.”

When it comes to labels it’s not solely about price for Linda, but she likes that she “can always count on QuickLabel for service and delivery and that you really care about me and my product.”

It’s now easy as pie to whip up a variety of sweet and savory T’ARTs. Linda gave me so many great ideas for T’ART recipes, including some of her family favorites. These are peach, apricot, and blueberry. She also had my mouth watering with options for savory tarts that include veggies and goat cheese, a great brunch alternative to a quiche.

Today, T’ART comes in a convenient package with a beautifully vibrant label depicting a photo of a freshly baked tart. If you are like me, you are probably very antsy to get your hands on some T’ART mixes for yourself or as gifts.

 

 

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Barcode Labels: Do I need a barcode? How do I get a barcode?

Posted on by kginter

Are you a business owner about to launch a new product and wondering if you need a barcode on your label? Or maybe you’re a business owner who already has a product and you’re considering adding a barcode to your label. You might be unsure about whether or not you really need a barcode or not. Well, we’re here to help save you from headaches and stress. Let’s breakdown the needs and uses for barcodes!

 

How to Get a Barcode on Your Retail Product Label

Although there is no law that you must have a barcode, most retailers and distributors will require you to have one for inventory and sales records purposes.

If you are planning to sell your products in a retail market, you should register your product with GS1. GS1 is a global keeper of barcodes. You will be assigned and registered to your own unique barcode that identifies your company as the maker of the product. GS1 will provide you with a unique 12 digit UPC (Universal Product Code) or EAN company identification number that you will enter into a UPC-A or and EAN-12 barcode on your products label. By having a registered barcode, your retail product can be scanned and the information embedded in the code will be in the system ready to go.

Of course, barcodes are just one component of a retail label. If you have a small business in the USA, you might be interested in reading these tips regarding the FDA labeling exemptions for food products.

Keeping Better Inventory and Reducing Errors with Barcode Labels 

Barcodes can also help you to keep a better inventory of your own products, especially if your product line is large and diverse. You can create special barcodes to best fit your numbering and inventory system.  By printing a label with a barcode on it, you can simply scan your barcode rather than rely on someone taking a physical inventory. This not only saves time and money, but it also tremendously reduces the risk of human error.

Having the wrong information in your supply chain or business operation can wreak havoc. These errors can account for business being lost and for higher operating expenses. Your information is one of your most valuable assets and you want to be sure it is being taken care of in a reliable way – this is where barcode labeling shines.

A great example of this is labeling a medical device or labeling a pharmaceutical product with a barcode. Many times these very products have many different variations. Or even if you’re a coffee roaster, if you have 50 different roasts or flavors, it may be hard to keep them all straight. A barcode label can be affixed to the finished product while it is in inventory, so that when the time comes for the item to be picked for shipping, the barcode can be scanned. This will help you to ensure that the right inventory is being picked and shipped to the correct customer.

Avoiding Fraud with Barcode Labels 

Piracy and counterfeiting have become more and more common around the world, and such scams can affect your business or industry economically. Most commonly counterfeited are wine labels, fashion labels, and pharmaceutical drug labels.

Counterfeiting is growing so fast that it is hard to control. The United States in particular is hit hard by counterfeiting since it is the world’s largest consumer market. In 2007 alone, 750,000 US jobs were lost due to counterfeiting. Counterfeiters are becoming very smart about what they are doing and one of the best solutions for preventing counterfeit items from making their way into our retail environment is by using barcode labels.

You can use your labels and packaging to fight back against counterfeiting. If you have a product that is at high risk of being duplicated, you can create your own barcode that contains specific information so that it can be scanned to ensure that it is a genuine product. Having a barcode to scan assures retailers that your product is legitimate and safe. These codes can prevent counterfeit pharmaceutical products, wine, baby formula, and even fraudulent unsafe software from getting into consumer hands.

Generating Traffic to Social Platforms: QR Codes 

The QR Code is a much newer type of barcode that has become popular over the last few years. QR Codes are 2D codes that are able to hold larger amounts of information than simple 1D codes such as the UPC barcode. Marketers have taken advantage of the ability to print labels with QR codes and now use QR codes to link consumers to websites such as their brand’s website, social media pages, and even contest pages. With the evolution of the cell phone, consumers are able to scan these codes with their mobile device and browse these websites from their phones.

The QR Code makes for a seamless connection between the brand and the consumer because it keeps them constantly connected. You’ll find beverage companies and food companies printing QR Codes on their labels to entice consumers with recipes, coupons, and deals. Printing labels with QR codes is a great tool to take into consideration!

How Do I Start Printing My Own Barcode Labels?

If you want to start printing your own barcode labels, QuickLabel has several options for you. For simple black and white barcode printing, we have the Pronto! barcode label printer family. This printer is perfect for a table or desktop in your office or shipping room. The Pronto! has the ability to print even the smallest sized barcodes (as small as size 4 pt. type) with crisp, clear resolution. The Pronto! also makes barcode label graphics in near-lithographic print quality with consistent, solid fills and clean lines and curves. Some use the Pronto! 486 to make small-size identification labels, rating plate labels, and PC board labels. Others print single-color primary display labels for their products, making labels with logos and illustrations that help promote their brands on the retail shelf.

If you want to color code your barcode labels, our Vivo! Touch color label printer can do the job. The Vivo! Touch color label printer is able to digitally print color labels with color codes at the same time as it prints text, barcodes, color graphics, batch codes, lot codes, date codes, expiration dates, and any other label content. The Vivo! Touch can print color labels in high volumes in no time, perfect for companies with diverse product lines that need color coding for variation. A color coded label performs an important function as a “secondary indicator” of product identification information such as size, flavor, item number, and more. The FDA has recognized color coded labels as a supportive labeling feature for pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

For more information on our line of label printers, stop by our website for more information or ask us for an onsite label printer demonstration!

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The Just Label It! Campaign for GMO Food Labeling

Posted on by kginter

Do you avidly read the labels on food products while you shop? What are some of the things you look for? Calorie count? Sugar? Carbohydrates? Genetically Modified Ingredients? Wait, what? Genetically modified ingredients?

You read me right. There are a number of foods in the market that are consumed on a daily basis that contain some sort of genetically modified ingredient (also referred to as GEs or GMOs). The thing is, you might never realize that, since the USA does not require food producers to mention GMOs on the label.

Americans Say They Want To Know…

In a series of polls over the past couple years it has become evident that Americans are more aware of what GMO ingredients are and that they are in foods that we eat.

  • In an October 2010 survey Thomson Reuters PULSE Healthcare Survey polled 100,000 US households via telephone and found that 93% believed genetically modified foods should be labeled so.
  • A June 2011 MSNBC online poll showed that 96% of Americans think that genetically modified food is an ethical issue and should be properly labeled so consumers can make informed choices.
  • An ABC News poll from June 2011 found that 93% of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Health activists have become much more vocal about GMO ingredients, especially of late. Recent studies, including the ones listed above, show that on average 93% of Americans support mandatory labeling of GMO foods. These studies make it apparent that the majority of Americans would like to know exactly what we are consuming. The campaign believes that consumers should have a voice in the matter as well as a choice.

What Are the Concerns about Eating GMO Foods?

The question is: Is there really a need to be concerned about GMO ingredients?

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) doesn’t believe that GMO food is safe for consumption. AAEM has reported, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food.” These health risks included: infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.

Further studies have had these findings, according to the AAEM website:

  • Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants
  • Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
  • More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
  • Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly
  • By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies
  • Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity
  • Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen
  • Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
  • The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
  • Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc.

Although there are no human clinical trials of GMO foods, these animal findings led the AAEM to ask physicians to start advising their patients to avoid GMO foods.

The Just Label It! Campaign Thinks We Have a Right To Know…

In September 2011, the “Just Label It” campaign submitted a formal letter to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by attorneys from the Center for Food Safety. The Just Label It campaign and supporters know that Americans cannot make informed choices about what food we eat if we aren’t aware of what is in our food.

Gaining Support for Labeling GMOs

Just Label It has hundreds of healthcare community members, consumer advocates, farmers, concerned parents, environmentalists, food and farming organizations, businesses, businesses and organizations working together to rally consumers to support this label initiative. A full list of Just Label It’s partners can be found on their website.

The Just Label It website states that:

  • The majority of the livestock Americans consume as meat are raised on genetically engineered grains. Why? Because the two most prevalent genetically engineered crops are corn and soy which are used in many processed foods and most animal feeds.
  • Statistics show: Nearly 90 % of corn, 94% of soy, and 90% of cottonseed grown in the US are from GE seeds.
  • Corn, soy, and cottonseed are ingredients that are most commonly found in packaged foods like cereals, crackers, cookies, chips, high fructose corn syrup-sweetened soda, frozen meals, etc.

8 Ways to Avoid Eating GMOs: Advice from the Just Label It Campaign

  1. Take action and let the FDA know you support the Just Label It campaign, with just one click.
  2. Go Organic – USDA certified organic products prohibit genetic engineering
  3. Avoid the 5 most common products that are most likely to be genetically engineered: corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar.
  4. Eat more produce than processed foods. Most GMOs are found in processed foods.
  5. Download the True Food Shoppers Guide from the Center for Food Safety.
  6. Keep eyes peeled in stores for products that identify themselves as non-GMO – i.e. the Non GMO-project labels
  7. Contact the product manufacturer directly to inquire with them about whether or not their product contains genetically engineered ingredients.
  8. Check out Just Label It’s video to make yourself more aware of GMO foods.

What Do You Think?

How do you feel about eating foods that contain GMO ingredients?

Would you like to see food labels disclose GMO ingredients?

More Info On Just Label It Campaign and Genetically Engineered Foods:

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The Dolphin-Safe Tuna Label: Good for Dolphins, Bad for Trade?

Posted on by kginter

How many of you feel better knowing that your favorite tuna salad sandwich is made with dolphin-safe tuna? The “dolphin-safe” tuna label that is popular among tuna-buying consumers was adopted in the US in 1990 to encourage consumers to purchase tuna products that were caught without harming dolphins, which are a frequent “by-catch” from tuna fishing. Now, however, the country of Mexico is alleging that the USA dolphin-safe tuna label law is an unfair barrier to trade.

Are US Dolphin-Safe Tuna Label Laws Overly Restrictive?

An issue in the seafood industry over the past couple of years has been that the Mexican government believes that their product (yellow fin tuna) is being overlooked and excluded by the major tuna brands in the US because Mexican fishermen have no way of officially verifying that they follow the same “dolphin-safe” fishing standards as are required in the US. Because of Mexico’s lack of protocol, tuna brands are unable to label Mexican-origin tuna product as “dolphin-safe.”

An article by John Heilprin of the Associated Press stated that Mexico “claimed its tuna production complied with international standards on reducing the accidental capture of dolphins in commercial fishing nets, but that the US rules prohibited Mexico from using the “dolphin-safe” label needed to sell the product in the US.”

Is this the End of the US Dolphin-Safe Tuna Label?

Just last week, a World Trade Organization panel ruled that the “dolphin-safe” tuna labels are illegal because they restrict trade too much, saying that the label regulations “are more trade-restrictive than necessary to fulfill the legitimate objectives “of (i) ensuring that consumers are not misled or deceived about whether tuna products contain tuna that was caught in a manner that adversely affects dolphins  and (ii) contributing to the protection of dolphins.”

The Mexican Economy Secretary said “The WTO ruling is a crushing blow to the label ‘dolphin-safe’ and opens the way for Mexican producers to enter the U.S. market without restrictions, as is their right,” according to a quote in the Huffington Post.

Lori Wallach of Public Citizen advocacy group believes the dolphin-safe label is an integral part of helping consumers to make wise buying choices. She said that banishing the dolphin-safe tuna label “is among the few things likely to unite Americans across the political spectrum.” The US may appeal the WTO ruling, according to spokeswoman Andrea Mead of the US Trade Representative’s office.

Beyond the US Dolphin-Safe Label:

Voluntary Dolphin-Safe Labels

It is important to know that consumers can look for other voluntary dolphin safe labels outside of the US Commerce Department label that is affected by the WTO ruling:

Earth Institute Dolphin Safe Label Logo: The Earth Institute Dolphin-Safe label on a tuna product indicates that the tuna has not been caught using a fishing method that nets dolphins, encircles dolphins, or chases dolphins.

 

 

Flipper Seal of Approval: In addition to US Commerce Department regulations, companies that have earned the Flipper Seal of Approval (FSA) from Earthtrust agree not to sell tuna if dolphins were harmed during the fishing process. Moreover, brands that carry the FSA seal agree to take positive action to help dolphins. Earthtrust is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization headquarters in Honolulu, HI.

 

 

How The US Dolphin Safe Tuna Label Came to Be…

In 1992, Congress passed the Dolphin Protection Consumer Act which led to the “Dolphin-Safe” label for tuna packaging.

At First, No Dolphins Could Be Netted.
Originally, the label could only be used if no dolphins were netted during the tuna fishing process. Then, in 1997, the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act (IDCPA) gave authorization to use the “Dolphin Safe” label for tuna caught using “trap and release nets.” Under IDCPA rules, any dolphins caught in the trapping process be released and shipboard observers from the National Marine Fisheries Service must investigate to be sure that no dolphins were harmed or killed during the process, in accordance with the US Department of Commerce.

Then, Studies Showed that Trap and Release Fishing is Safe.
It was also decided that the Commerce Department must conduct studies to determine that trap and release tuna fishing doesn’t harm independent dolphin populations. In 2002, the Commerce Secretary concluded that encirclement and trap and release using seine nets was not having a “significant adverse impact” on depleted dolphin stocks. The Secretary’s findings OK’d using the “dolphin-safe” label on tuna caught via encirclement, if the dolphins were not harmed or killed.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Do you think the “dolphin-safe” tuna labeling standards are too restrictive? Or just right?

Should the US and Mexico compromise on a way to verify that Mexican Yellow Fin tuna is in fact “dolphin-safe”?

More Resources About The Dolphin-Safe Tuna Label:

Dolphin Safe Label – Wikipedia

Flipper Seal of Approval – Earthtrust

Dolphin Safe Program – Earth Institute

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