Food Industry Date & Code Labels
Dating and coding any type of food used in the food production, distribution or restaurant business is vital to maintaining a healthy reputation with the Food and Drug Administration and your customer base. Regulations for food safety information are becoming more common. The passing of the Food Safety Modernization Act few years ago was a broad piece of legislation that defines stringent labeling and identification requirements. Inspectors are requiring that perishable products have dates.
Consumers have grown to expect date of food products. When it comes to food labels, clarity is of the utmost importance. A store or food chain does not want to risk a customer being unable to read an employee’s handwriting on a label, as this can lead to confusion and the discarding of an ultimately fresh product. Clear labels are also vital in the restaurant business, as throwing away food is throwing away profit.
Therefore, it’s becoming necessary through the whole supply chain to have traceability and accountability. During your specific part of growing, transporting, preparing, or selling, you must have an acceptable dating or coding procedure, or else a problem that you didn’t cause could be falsely blamed on your organization. Employees can print their identification on the label as well to provide the source.
Hand held labeling tools (commonly referred to as price guns) are a very simple and inexpensive solution to handle the date coding of your products. Variables such as month, day, year, and time can be marked on one line, and on the second line any type of code, employee number or initials, or another date or time can be marked as well. Up to three lines are possible with these tools. The user is able to record multiple pieces of information such as a prep date/time and a Use By date/time. The labels are available in a variety of preprints that help identify the dates marked to the staff or end customers.
Label guns can be used for a variety of reasons within the food industry, including:
- Inventory Control - Last In First Out (LIFO) and First In First Out (FIFO) techniques are used to manage how much money an organization has tied up in inventory. Label guns provide an easy way to operate a LIFO or FIFO inventory system. When dealing with perishables in a kitchen for instance, marking a received on or use by date, or even the date with a time for the product helps provide excellent traceability that any health inspector would be happy to see.
- Temperature Control – Tracking temperatures of food can be vital in the food industry. Selling or serving food that has reached temperatures dubbed in “the danger zone” can cause serious health issues, including food poisoning. Using labels to identify the time a product has been exposed to a temperature allows for better tracking of safe food temperatures.
- Product Recall - Food manufacturers can use label guns to mark their items with a lot code. In the event of a recall, store employees will be able to quickly identify the specific products that need to be pulled. Without some form of tracing, you may end up pulling good, salable product and hurting the bottom line of your business and the business of the retail partner.
- Product Rotation - Not only do these tools help to keep the operation compliant, they can also help increase profitability by helping to reduce waste. Labeling helps to easily & properly rotate perishable products. With efficient product rotation, food prep areas can be sure that all ingredients are fresh and waste is kept to a minimum.
General purpose adhesive is the most popular and works very well in most conditions.
- Freezer grade adhesive
- Durable water resistant
- Removable adhesive
- Dissolvable material (can help save time when containers are washed)