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12 comments

Label Print Too Small?

Posted February 07, 2011 7:00 AM

Consumer protection laws have for many years mandated that food and pharmaceutical manufacturers clearly label what is in their products and provide instructions for use and warnings of possible adverse affects. That sounds good, but have you ever tried to read one of those labels? You need a magnifying glass and the technical language is beyond what most people understand. Packagers waste massive amounts of ink and label material printing this information that practically no one ever reads. Why not relax the laws and just give a Web site reference on the label to direct those interested to a Web site for more information? An 800 number would also suffice for those not connected to the Web. Do you think this would be a good idea? What are other options?

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/07/2011 10:45 PM

The labels are just as much for the guy having to pump your stomach as they are for you. Stop whinning.

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#2

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/08/2011 12:07 AM

Just Google it. You will have much more info that you are willing to want to read, and/or "really know" what you are taking with all of the side effects listed. Unless you are in a band, you do not want all the side effects. Don't take it.

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#3

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/08/2011 12:13 AM

Ignorance of the customers is one of the reasons . Awareness about consumer protection at least on life saving drugs is required. Sometimes it is difficult to read even the date of expiry of the product which is again statutory requirement.

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Anonymous Poster
#4

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/08/2011 3:43 AM

Do you think this would be a good idea? No. The only ones who would think that this is a good idea are the parasitic lawyers as they would just have a field day with this - after all that is probably the number one reason why the labels are there in the first place. I agree that alot of the signs are stupid but this is just to protect the manufacturers from crazy claims " well where is the sign that says you can't put your pet in the microwave to warm him/her up"

There is not much one can do about stupid people (if only there was a pill or something), the only hope is that you don't give these idots the ability to put you and your co-workers out of a job.

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#5

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/08/2011 8:33 AM

What makes this issue worse is the need for duplication in Spanish.

Right off the bat, you've cut the usable area in half. How about legislation requiring that persons applying for citizenship, regardless of country of origin, must be conversant in English.

I doubt it will happen as that would demand that individuals take responsibility for their actions, an idea whose time has passed.

L.J.

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#6

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/08/2011 4:06 PM

I'm inclined to like the Website idea, but there is still the problem of persons w/o Web access.

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#7

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/08/2011 4:19 PM

As with many issues, there is a reasonable balance to the actual need and use of information provided. We get frustrated when we feel that regulatory agencies have overreached and dictated requirements (in the name of "protection") that don't really protect. There is no such thing as perfect 100% protection, so let's not just think "more is better". Even if you could, there will always be those who ignore the warnings. I personally would rather have the very important or critical information available (even if I need magnification to read it) and the choice to do so.

Sure, much is done to just CYA against lawyers looking for work, but we are the ones who deliberate foolish "McDonald's hot coffee" awards and create the CYA need! Accidents happen, but should we believe that it is someone else's fault and we should be made whole?

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#8

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/09/2011 7:02 AM

"Why not relax the laws and just give a Web site reference on the label to direct those interested to a Web site for more information? An 800 number would also suffice for those not connected to the Web. Do you think this would be a good idea? What are other options?"

I see two problems with just providing a web site to the consumer, no wait, three problems. Two are a problem for the consumer, one is a problem for the manufacturer. They are:

  1. Bad for manufacturer - If I am standing in the aisle at Publix (popular grocery store primarily in the South Eastern USA) trying to decided if a I want to purchase XYZ cookies, but am not able to determine what is in it, I most likely will pass on buying it. I doubt I will check out their web site (unless they look decadent). So the manufacture has lost a sale - assuming the product doesn't have stuff I choose not to consume (i.e. partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, etc.).
  2. Bad for Consumer - Believe it or not, not everyone has internet access, at least not convenient enough to use on a regular basis. Also there are many who do not know how to look for something on the www.
  3. Bad for Consumer - The consumer has less information readily available at the time the decision needs to be made. The result may be that the consumer, trusting the manufacturer would not put anything bad for them in the product, purchases the product and is harmed. Or just as likely, the consumer opts to not buy something they are not familiar with and misses out on something beneficial.

While I do see many products that have the necessary information in print almost too small to read, I do not see the problem as space being the limiting factor. Many manufacturers make the print small so they can maximize the space available to sell their product.

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#9

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/09/2011 7:16 AM

Generally, I am not in favor of government telling manufacturers what to do (i.e. requiring them to list ingredients and nutritional data). However, food is rarely grown or packaged and sold locally. Furthermore, much of what we consume is now truly manufactured as opposed to just grown/raised. Sure you can still buy milk, eggs, chicken, beef, pork, and pigs feet, but so much of what fills the shelves is processed.

I would like to believe that the general public would demand such information by way of their pocket books instead of via government regulation. Now that such information is available on products, should the regulation go away, how long would it be before manufacturers stopped providing the formerly required bits of information? I think at first, those familiar with the product would continue to buy it, those not familiar might stay away and use a competitor's product which includes the data on their packaging. But eventually, one by one the manufacturers would stop putting the information on their product and the vast majority of the general public (in the US) would ignorantly buy what's on the shelves.

I selfishly don't want to be in that position and since the regulation affects all manufactured products the same way for a trivial increase in expense (if any true expense at all), I am willing to support such regulation.

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Anonymous Poster
#10

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/09/2011 12:11 PM

Best idea is try not to ingest anything that requires fine print.

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#11

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/11/2011 1:10 PM

Tort reform is needed.

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#12

Re: Label Print Too Small?

02/15/2011 4:27 PM

It is not only the lawyer generated mumbo jumbo that irks me but, more importantly, that the really relevant information, like how to use the product, what to do if incorrectly used and etc. is also written in illegible miniature. Now even radio's instruction manuals have several pages of safety instruction put at the begining getting the owner tired of reading before the information of how to safely use the prduct is reached. This means to me that the fear of law suits far out weighs the desire to communicate the information that is needed by the consumer who has puschased the product. Possibly the only way to fight back is to return the items to the place of purchase that offend the user in this manner emphasizing the reason for the return is not that the product is defective but that the instructions are. But then again it is difficult to imagine that the information would be passed up to the guilty. It might be more effective if we wrote o the costumer service of the company.

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