New food labeling--do you read labels, is it easy for you?

@dragon54u (31298)
United States
January 15, 2011 8:29am CST
I read labels on nearly everything I get at the grocery. I read them every time because I know they change things like how much you're getting for the price or they remove an ingredient. I would just LOVE it if they would print them big enough to read without fumbling for my reading glasses! The print is so tiny on most labels that if I forget my glasses I have to ask a fellow shopper to read it for me. Now they are thinking of labeling meats and while I think that's a good idea, many are already labeled but with print too small for most people to see without a magnifying glass. I would also like to see the origin of the food prominently displayed in bold print since I try to avoid any foods from outside the U.S. What would you like to see changed in the way food is labeled?
7 people like this
25 responses
@mentalward (14716)
• United States
15 Jan 11
The PRICE label! That could be lower... much, much lower. Actually, I agree with you about the print size. I wear my glasses all the time as I am both near sighted and far sighted and wear progressive lenses. Still, I have to look through the very bottom of my glasses (the reading part) before I can make out what those labels are saying. Of course, I'm sure the food companies will say that wouldn't be "cost effective" and will leave them the way they are... or make them smaller.
@mentalward (14716)
• United States
15 Jan 11
Hmmm... you know, now that I see it in print, I should be saying that I'm NEITHER near-sighted nor far-sighted, since I need glasses for both.
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
15 Jan 11
I'm near sighted and had lasik, which allows me to navigate fairly well without them but my eyes were so bad that that's the best they could do. I'm grateful for the sight I have but now that I need reading glasses it's highly inconvenient to read labels with tiny print! I agree on the prices! They have gone up a lot this year, meat has risen about 5%. Okay, 5¢ on the dollar doesn't sound like a lot but when you're buying $20 worth of meat (just an example, I rarely do that) that's an extra dollar. Think of what a family of 4 would spend! It would be nice if stores could dangle magnifying glasses in every aisle!
@mentalward (14716)
• United States
15 Jan 11
It sounds like maybe you should look into Progressive lenses next time you need new glasses. They're a bit more expensive than normal lenses but, when you compare that against two new pairs of glasses, it's pretty much the same and MUCH more convenient. I hated to have to do what you're doing now... take off my far vision glasses to put on my reading glasses so I could see something for a minute, then put my far vision glasses back on. What a pain! When Progressive lenses came out, I was ecstatic! It's like you have perfect vision again... far vision is great, near vision is great and, the best part, everything in-between is great! What I did before that, when I had the two pairs of glasses, was to wear my far vision glasses and have my reading glasses on one of those glasses chains that go around your neck so they'd be nearby whenever I had to temporarily put them on. I switched places with them when I was proofreading since I had to wear my reading glasses most of the time. Progressive lenses put an end to all that nonsense. I doubt the stores would want to put magnifying glasses in every aisle because then we wouldn't buy half of what we do now. I'm sure the manufacturers of those products don't really want us to read most of those labels. You know, I just thought of something. The majority of people these days, at least in this country, is of the "baby boom" era and we're getting up there in age. You'd think the manufacturers would cater to us by enlarging the print, even if only for a few decades, until all us baby boomers have kicked the bucket.
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (24966)
• Australia
19 Jan 11
It's deliberate you know. They don't want you to read (or understand) the fine print. If you did, you probably would not buy the product most times. I put my reading glasses on as soon as I walk into the store.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
19 Jan 11
I think you're right! All those chemicals and stuff are not good for us and I buy fresh stuff instead of canned or frozen whenever possible. It's more work to cook things but I haven't been sick for 20 years so I think it pays off. Another responder suggested keeping reading glasses in the car so I'm going to do that since I always forget to take them with me.
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@MsTickle (24966)
• Australia
20 Jan 11
I usually have my sunnies on and forget to take my reading glasses...I keep a spare pair in my handbag for those emergencies.
• Pamplona, Spain
18 Jan 11
Hiya dragon, Me too I would like them to make the letters on the label larger but seeing as they are not going to I take a whatsit glass with me. I really don´t care if anyone is looking and no wonder more People need Glasses trying to read those very small letter labels. I also take one of those with me to make sure of the Dates on the Coca Cola Bottles as they always put them on the silver grey part of the label and you can just about read it and also I now take it to read the receipts from the Cash Out Girl as they make a lot of mistakes now. It´s not their fault they are all new and they have a lot of work shoved on to them. So I need it for that too as the letters on the Receipt have got even smaller and more faded out but not so the Adverts that come on the back of the Receipts of the Shopping that you have bought Take care now. xxx
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
19 Jan 11
True, there are lots of mistakes at the register! When I used to work in a grocery they offered a product for free if there is a mistake about it on the receipt but I haven't heard of any other store doing this now and that was years ago. Coca Cola is very uncooperative. I wrote them about the grips on top of their 12-packs being in the middle and how inconvenient that was--my mom loves Coke so that was why I was buying it (all soda is SO bad for you!). They replied that thousands had complained about it but there were no plans to alter it. Wow.
1 person likes this
@aerous (13475)
• Philippines
18 Jan 11
Well, when I buy food. The first thing that I inspect is the expiration date and the content of the food
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@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
18 Jan 11
The expiration date is mainly for inventory control. I've eaten canned things 2 years past the date and they've been perfectly fine. While I would not recommend this, I don't think it's usually dangerous to eat canned food past its expiration date.
@aerous (13475)
• Philippines
21 Jan 11
Well, I just only following what those Bureau controlling and managing products safety and health. They say that those expired in date will not be good to eat...
@trader22 (233)
• Jamaica
16 Jan 11
Sometimes i do. I would like to see the find print change
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
17 Jan 11
Hey, welcome to myLot! I hope you'll enjoy it here. Make lots of friends, I have many here that I truly like and would love to meet in "real" life. Just be careful not to post referral links. Fine print is awful, especially at my age. Sometimes I can't even read it with reading glasses!
@trader22 (233)
• Jamaica
18 Jan 11
Im always suspicious of the fine print. It seems as if they are hiding something.
• United States
16 Jan 11
While it would be very useful for those of us over 50 if the labels were printed with a larger font - I don't see it happening any time soon! They probably think if we cannot read the small print we won't worry about it anymore!NOT!
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
16 Jan 11
Hell, they're probably hoping that we can't read it so we'll die sooner. Over 50's are considered non-productive consumers that can't contribute much to the tax revenues. Okay, maybe I'm going overboard on that...I would certainly like a label with font large enough to read and a very clear statement of where the food is from.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jan 11
Yep it would be nice to be able to read what we are ingesting... I always wear my bifocals so I'm good.. but occasionally I wear my sunglasses and they don't have bifocals I didnt think I would need them! ha!
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
15 Jan 11
Yes, I'm a label reader also. Yes, I HATE the tiny print!!! Reading a product label is similar to reading a contract, it is written in Greek & I don't understand Greek!!! To work around the small print issue, I keep a pair of cheater glasses on the sun visor of my car (Dollar Tree/$1.00 a pair). I've made it a habit to grab the glasses & hang them on the neck of my blouse/dress as I'm getting out of the car. That way I have them with me when I need to read a label. I've gotten really lazy about reading everything on the label opting to read the number of servings per container, the Calorie to Fat ratio, the number of grams of fat, sodium & sugar. I usually only read the first 4 or 5 ingredients as they are supposed to be the most important. Actually, even though I read the labels to see what's there, I sometimes wonder what fairy tail I'm really reading. I'm reading a label that clearly lists butter as one of the ingredients, yet it has 0 grams of fat. I don't think so!!! I do my best to not eat so much out of cans or prepackaged products...opting for making my own so I know what's in it!!! I think the labeling should be legible print & that there should be a TRUTH in labeling law!!!!
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
15 Jan 11
You're so right! I've seen items with ingredients like butter or sugar and yet their calories/fat content didn't reflect that. I get my readers from Dollar Tree, too. Thanks for the idea of the sun visor and collar, that will make things more convenient and I don't know why I didn't think of it before!
1 person likes this
@LadyMarissa (12165)
• United States
15 Jan 11
My Dollar Tree also sells a clip on eyeglass holder. I think they're 2/$1. I keep one clipped on my sun visor & the other clipped on my lamp shade next to the sofa. That has cut down on my loss of glasses & they stay within reach!!!
@hofferp (4739)
• United States
15 Jan 11
I can't read a thing without my reading glasses, so I just wear them all the time. But even with them, trying to read the information on the lower or upper shelves (price per unit, etc.) is a pain. Larger labeling would be helpful. And I'm glad they're putting the origin of foods on the product. I'll buy foreign produce, but I like knowing that I am. I haven't found any information missing; that is, when I'm reading a label, I haven't found myself saying, "I'd like to know X". So I guess I'm ok with what they've done. I just know the more we ask for in terms of labels, information, etc., the higher the price of the food goes. So I'm somewhere in between -- do I want more information and pay a higher price or can I live with what I've got and maintain (maybe) the current price? These days I usually go for lower price.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
15 Jan 11
That's the problem, any changes mean financial burdens on the food manufacturers and will raise the prices. But the government is apparently bound and determined to "improve" the labeling on food so we might as well see what the people would actually like changed! As long as it's inevitable, it should be what people really need and want. I just with the government would butt out of everything except defense! Sometimes I can slide my glasses down my nose and read the labels but usually the print is too small even for that. I don't mind buying foreign foods but after seeing the pollution in China I don't want food from there--and so much of it is! Take a look at this if you want to see some heart-breaking pollution: http://www.chinahush.com/2009/10/21/amazing-pictures-pollution-in-china/ After you look at that, you won't want to buy anything from China!
@hofferp (4739)
• United States
15 Jan 11
I too wish the Government would step back on its regulations (in most areas it now regulates); some, of course, are necessary, but I think they need to do some cost/benefit analysis before implementing them. And I agree, if you're going to do it, then make sure we can read the dang labels. Oh, I don't buy products/produce from China. Not only do I think they're not safe, until China/India/et al play by the same rules most of the rest of world plays by (wages, safety, environmental, etc.), I try to not buy anything made in China, let alone their food. Because I live on the border, I end up buying some foods from Mexico...that's what I was referring to when I said I buy foreign produce. In some of our grocery stores, about half of the aisles are foods from Mexico. I guess if half my store customers were from Mexico I'd do the same thing...but I liked it better when most of the aisles were "Made in the USA". I felt safer buying products/produce.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40326)
• Canada
15 Jan 11
I have the same problem. When I go shopping I sometimes do not take out my glasses unless it is for reading thee ingredients on medicine containers and multivitamins (looking for the words sugar free, etc.no gluten or dairy products), but for buying food, no. Here in Canada, we do have had labels, but if you are talking about the list of ingredients that I found on a box of Soy Milk and I thoughtt, "IT is natural?" and on the salad dressing, I find they are hard to read. I have glasses that just magnify a little bit since most of my trouble is astigmatism. Really I should remember to stick a telescope or one of those magnifying glasses they use in chemistry. The print is that large.
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
15 Jan 11
Yes, I find that "natural" things are deceptive and that's why I usually avoid them--they cost a lot more, too! I have magnifying glasses but usually forget to bring them to the store. Taking my glasses off, putting the others on and finding a safe place for my regular glasses where they won't be scratched is incredibly inconvenient! And I'm standing in the way of all those other shoppers.
1 person likes this
@Loen210 (1533)
• United States
17 Jan 11
I do read labels, and at least the first several ingredients I understand, but I hate how so many of the ingredients, the companies know that you don't have any idea what they are. But for especially our pet food, I make sure their cans do not have by-products and other disgusting and unhealthy ingredients.
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@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
17 Jan 11
Pet food is particularly disgusting. Have you ever seen the ingredient "animal digest"? That means all parts of an animal whether they are the animals that shelters have euthanized or ones slaughtered for eating. Beaks, claws, pet collars, hair and everything else is ground up and added to food containing "animal digest". I look for that in my dogs' food and won't feed them anything with animal digest in it. Look it up, it'll make you sick!
@millertime (1398)
• United States
17 Jan 11
My first thought when I read the post topic was I would sure like to read every one but I have trouble reading some of them even WITH my reading glasses! I guess I'm going to have to get some more powerful ones or carry a magnifying glass with me to the grocery store. I like your idea of the origin of the food being put on the label or for produce on the display card. I would like to know where the food I eat comes from. I really like shopping at the local farmer's markets so I know I'm buying local. They say that most food items travel about 1500 miles before it reaches our kitchens. What a waste. I think if most people knew where the food came from they would put more pressure on the stores to buy local and cut down on so much waste in transportation and I bet we would be pretty surprised to find out where it really does come from.
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
17 Jan 11
The origin of foods would be at the top of my list. I was talking with my stepmother yesterday about potatoes. When she was a girl they harvested potatoes and put them in the cellar and they lasted all winter. Now, the potatoes you buy from the store start to go soft in a week! She thinks they've been sitting in warehouses for months and I'm sure she's right. Maybe a harvested date should be in vegetables. But I'll be growing my own potatoes this year! I want to avoid products from China. It's often very difficult to find where a food is actually from. Where it is packed is quite different from where it originated, lots of food is from China but packed in the USA.
@hushi22 (4941)
17 Jan 11
labelling the origin of the food prominently is a good idea. food labelling was never a problem to me. my eye sight is good enough and i have always been interested in reading the labels esp those that come from China.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
17 Jan 11
Yes, you can find out a lot and manage your dietary needs better when you read labels. I'm just surprised how many people I see that don't!
@cerebellum (3871)
• United States
16 Jan 11
I read the labels all of the time. I read some of the other responses and I agree that the label that tells the price has got to go down! I have trouble reading the small print. My problem is the opposite of yours, I have to take my glasses off to read them. I can see well close up, but not far away. I have progressive lenses, and the bottom part is pretty much just clear glass. I can read larger print with them on, but if it is small I need to take them off.
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@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
17 Jan 11
I have to get new glasses with built-in readers. That would take care of it for me but still, some of it is so small that I can't even read it with my reading glasses. The prices will only keep rising, though, meat has risen 5% this year and dairy products even more.
@thaMARKER (3096)
• Philippines
16 Jan 11
i sometimes do when it's my first time to buy that certain product. i'm not that health conscious but if i hear bad feedback about a certain product, i won't or will think twice of buying it. i sometimes check where is it made especially cheese products cause other countries are good providers. they the best cheese in the whole world.
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@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
17 Jan 11
Yes, other countries do have wonderful products! I read the labels every time because I find that companies are changing their formulas from time to time and especially putting less in the can or box while charging the same price.
@alottodo (3062)
• Australia
16 Jan 11
I try to read most labels...but sometimes I just give up! the print can be so small no even with glasses I can see them! LOL I like BIG prints labels! but we have to be real most food are imported from other countries around the world[ most ingredients any way] and then their are manufactured in our country.....soooo we actually never have any thing that is [practically grown] in our country any way.
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
16 Jan 11
Wow, you have that problem there, too? The U.S. is importing nearly everything these days and it's hard to find anything made here. I prefer food grown here. But the best canned beef I've ever had was from Australia, I hear you have some awesome cattle there. My grandparents were cattlemen and next to that beef, Australia's is the best! I'll buy things from Australia and nearly every other country but I avoid things from China.
@derek_a (10903)
16 Jan 11
Here in the UK the food is labelled OK really, but it is sometimes hard to find on the product. I have a problem with sugar, so I don't take it and I have to go through labels on tinned and packaged food to ensure they don't have any added sugar. I manage it most of the time and have got do know what I can and cannot eat. _Derek
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@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
16 Jan 11
We have lots of foods here high in sugar but even more are high in salt. I was surprised at how much salt was in the convenience foods I liked, like canned and frozen foods. Now I mostly cook everything from scratch at home.
@bellis716 (4807)
• United States
16 Jan 11
If the info on the labels were printed large enough for me to read without my glasses, the label would be too large to fit on the can. Country of origin and any additives would be especially important on meat and fish.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
16 Jan 11
Ha! Well, sometimes I'll look up something on the internet before I buy it if I see something unfamiliar on sale, it's better than straining to read the label. I agree on country of origin, I put back lots of foods after reading the labels because they are from China. I used to eat a lot of seafood but it seems lately that it's mostly from China so I don't get much anymore. I would like to see the country of origin in very large font on the front of the package or top of the can! Better yet, have a "USA only" section of the store!
@GardenGerty (90133)
• Marion, Kansas
15 Jan 11
I do read food labels, especially for food that is new to me. I have a hard time reading the labels, though. I think country of origin is good. I think standard names for all the additives would be good as well, so we could Know what it was we were avoiding.
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@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
16 Jan 11
It is hard for me sometimes to find out where a food is from. The label will say "packed at Foods, Inc., Walmart, MN" and on another part of the package in very, very tiny print it will finally tell me that the food is made in China.
@Hatley (157587)
• Garden Grove, California
15 Jan 11
hi dragon like you I need the print bigger as a diabetic I haver to know the carbs and sugar and protein count and whether this is one serving or more and it must be so I can read it with my glasses on .also give price per ounce on some things and expiration date in bold print. I would also like to know where my fruits and veggies come from US or foreing country also on some candies I want where they came from. I bought'some candy at a 99 cent store and it actually burned my mouth I dont mean it was hot I mean it had some chemical in it that made the skin insdie my mout peel and in tiny print only myson could read it said made in china. I do not want any more chinese candy as that had some caustic chemical in it
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
16 Jan 11
I saw a show recently that said the expiration date is more for inventory control than food safety. So I went down in the basement and got the beans that expired in 2008 that I couldn't bear to throw away. They were great! Nothing bad happened so I guess the people were right. I pay attention to fiber, too. Most people don't get enough fiber. And I try to avoid anything from China. I don't eat nearly as much seafood as I used to because it's mostly from China.
@savypat (20248)
• United States
15 Jan 11
I read all I can but the print is so tiny even with my glasses on it's very difficult. Quite often I get it home where I can finally read it and have to give it away or throw it out because there is something in it we can't eat. Celery is a very common ingredent and one family member is violently allergic to this, if it's present we cannot use the can.
@dragon54u (31298)
• United States
16 Jan 11
I would certainly return it to the store if I got it home and couldn't use it. Sometimes I have to ask for help from fellow shoppers and I'm not a bit shy about it--it's important to know what's in the food I'm eating!