Beginning in the 1960s, legislation began to emerge to address deceptive and misleading product labels. The legislation sought to educate and protect the consumer. Since the 1960s, product labelling has become a significant area of concern to legislators; Consequently, there are a wide variety of product labelling laws. This article describes the requirements of each law.
Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990
Pursuant to the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, the United States Department of Food and Drug Administration mandates the nutrition labelling on foods. In addition, the law indicates what food items are subject to labelling and what information must be contained on food labels. For instance, the current nutrition labels require calories, fats, cholesterol, salt, protein, carbohydrates and other items.
Cigarette Labeling Act of 1965
The Cigarette Labeling Act of 1965 was established to provide warnings on cigarette packaging. The act requires cigarette manufacturers to include a warning label on each package, advertisement and carton, noting that the "Surgeon General has determined that cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health."
Child Protection Product Labeling Laws
There are two laws which apply to product labelling as they apply to children. In 1960, the Federal Hazardous Substance Labeling Act was enacted Under this law, household products must contain warnings that the product contains hazardous chemicals or other toxic ingredients. In 1969, the Child Protection and Toy Safety Act became law. This Act encompasses safety regulations for products used by children, such as car seats, bottles and toys. It applies specifically to products aimed at children as the end user, such as toys, blankets and other items and provides regulations indicating what constitutes an unsafe item, such as toys made with lead-based paints. In addition, the law prohibits the sale of any hazardous items to children.
Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1966
Under the Fair Packing and Labeling Act of 1966, deceptive labels are prohibited. Furthermore, the law requires labels to contain information on the amount of the product inside the package, the ingredients of the food and the name of the manufacturer.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994
In 1994, Congress enacted the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. The act basically indicates that a product must be safe before its sale in the United States. In addition, this law seeks to regulate vitamins, minerals, dietary supplements and nonfood types of products. The law requires supplement manufacturers to follow a safety review before marketing a product. The law also states that dietary supplement packaging contain particular labelling information in addition to clear and truthful information. "Clear and truthful" generally means that the label cannot mislead a person and must be able to be understood by a reasonable person. Moreover, the act requires supplement manufacturers to perform ongoing monitoring of the supplement's safety.