Your Health is in your hands, here is how.
11 mins read

Your Health is in your hands, here is how.

Contributed by
Sr-Clinical Dietitian
Life style Diseases and Management
Medical Reviewer , Cureus Journal of Medical Sciences
Health Opinionist, Parliament Times 
The concept of Nutritional labelling has become more widespread with much health consciousness in every sphere of the globe. Ever you pondered about the Nutritional labels? What they infer? What role it plays in guidance to a consumer/buyer, apart what the substance has in it? I must  say 80 % of all of us never pay attention to it rest 20% of masses merely cross their eyes for the sake of reading purpose! We are much more interested in brand names and companies than what the substance is composed of. Even if we attempt to perceive what it infers ,we fail to understand it properly .This whole scenario has a large impact of its consequences  on our health safety . 

Not all the food substances we buy display the nutritional information, mostly the local vendors selling snacks viz samosa, pakoras, halwa, fried fish, momo’s mutton steaks and a lot!. Markets being overflowed with such spurious edibles being sold at cheap rates pose high risk prevalence of diseases mainly food borne diseases, hence by deteroiting the health of masses.

        Such edibles defy the norms and regulations and do not meet the food regulatories and standards by non-availability of proper information of the composed food materials .The general community in our society get lured by such vendors and shopkeepers by the cheap prices, and the physical quality of these foods. 

          Consumer awareness plays pivotal role in safeguarding human health and living a robust life. They should be able to make healthy selection that has an impact on their health.

The extent to what we can save ourselves our self, what is within our jurisdiction, what we cannot neglect ,and the first shield towards positive health is “Prevention”.

I request here general public to pay attention to some of the most ignored features while visiting the grocery stores and other departmental outlets & to bring health and not diseases to their homes .Some the ways people can spare themselves by getting duped are as: 


ood labels are references of providing information to aid consumers to make food choices. Food labels help to protect public health and safety by displaying information such as use by dates, ingredients, certain allergents ,instructions for storage and preparation advisory and warning statements

 Unlabelled and unbranded food products are flooded in markets in the valley. They are cheaply common, relatively of little research addressing, how consumers assess such entities in a wider sense, including which strategies consumers apply and to what extent they are able to select products that meet or exceed their expectations regarding eating quality matters the most . We work like donkeys to earn the maximum but never compromise to invest some time on selection of foods.

Every time consumers in a haste  ,spending upon thousands of rupees in the purchasing process not knowing how to select ,what to choose ,which things are of utmost preference than mainly the attraction of food substances with respect to their physical appearances and odour. Every individual prefers healthy food but never is conscious about the minute basic things that need to be checked by none in the majority than the consumers themselves. Instead of the amount of   time we spend on brand competitions in shopping marts, if we give our head to minute specific headings that satisfies the authenticity of the product and saves us from getting befoooled is a smart practice for the consumers

 Quality includes positive and negative attributes that influence a product’s value to the consumer. Positive attributes that demonstrate good quality may be the origin, colour, flavour, texture and processing method of the food, while negative attributes may be visible spoilage, contamination with filth, discolouration, or bad odours or tastes. However not all unsafe foods may demonstrate bad quality, that is, unsafe food may appear to be of good quality, such as tainted meat disguised using bleach or strong spices. This distinction between safety and quality has implications for public policy and influences the nature and content of the food control system most suited to meet predetermined national objectives.


Most consumers read labels for price, weight and to see if the food product is vegetarian or non-vegetarian. However, as education and income levels increase more and more consumers want to make the right choice about the foods they consume whether it is breakfast cereals, ready to eat foods, dressings, sauces or processed meats. They also need to understand what effect health claims will have on their own  health. Since consumers, who buy packaged foods, have higher levels of income and are educated enough they understand that reading labels can reduce the risk of disease, food poisoning or buying fake or sub-standard products.

In general, food product labels must contain the following information

Product name and category of food

An ingredient list in descending order of weight or volume

Logo of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food

Nutrition fact panel or information which includes energy, protein, carbohydrate, fats etc

Nutritional claims quickly inform a consumer of nutritional value of a product for example ‘Low Fat’

The shelf life (Use by or Best Before Date)

Storage conditions when unopened and after opening packaging

The name & address of the manufacturer, packer and / or seller

The country of origin (in case of imported foods)

Product’s weight/quantity

 Instructions for use/ preparation

Some Important facts about the information on the label

All food products have a shelf life. Shelf life is the most important label information and it is displayed as “use by” or “expiry date”. This means that the content of the package should not be eaten after this date as the contents inside the package may no longer be safe to eat or could cause health problems. Besides this there are a number of food products that display‘best before’ date. This means that the food will retain all its properties right up to the ‘best before’ date if it is stored properly. A product that has passed the best before date may still be safe to eat but the product could have lost some of its properties, like taste, smell and appearance, however, it can still be sold if it has an ‘expiry date’ that goes beyond the best before date.

Another important aspect of the label is the “Batch Number” or “Lot Number” or “Code Number”. This number is used to trace the products if they need to be recalled because of some problem with the product which could make it unsafe for the consumer.  Any food product that is tinned or packaged if found to be fake, contaminated or adulterated can be recalled using the Batch No. of the products during the dates in which the food was manufactured and suspected to be unsafe.

“Date of manufacture” means the date on which the food becomes the product as described on the label. “Date of packaging” means the date on which the food is placed inside the package or container (tin, bottle etc.) in which it will ultimately be sold.

Storage, preparation and cooking information

Food poisoning can occur if dangerous bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria grow in foods that have not been stored properly as per instructions on the labels. If food has to be stored in the refrigerator after opening it is mentioned on the packaging label, ‘Refrigerate after opening.’ If this food is stored outside the fridge it could deteriorate rapidly and would then be unsafe for consumption. The label also mentions the minimum temperature at which a particular food is to be stored as heat can also cause bacteria to multiply and make food unsafe. Most consumers will look for storage conditions if it is product they are buying for the first time and also read preparation instructions only if the product is new and they have not used it earlier.

Nutritional labeling & health goals

. Another reason for the importance of food labelling is that besides providing information on the freshness of the product, the ingredients, nutritional facts and nutritional claims on labels help consumers to make healthier food choices. If food manufacturers can understand the consumer behavior from the kind of purchases that they make and understand the needs of the consumer then they will be able to develop products that are in demand and which are healthier. This will help to improve the health of a targeted consumer as is the case with fortified foods or foods specially created for pregnant and lactating mothers, senior citizens or infants. Health conscious customers read labels.

Those with high blood pressure want to avoid excessive amounts of salt while allergic people want to know if there are any ingredients in the products like peanuts if they are allergic and people with heart problems or cholesterol will find out how much trans-fat or cholesterol content is in the product. This is a simple example which gives masses the idea of necessity of Nutritional labels.

Food safety is a major public health concern ,There’s  not a single commodity  that is found as  adulterated and something that continued to poison the populations from years that is found alone of third grade standards .

But the country is swarmed in all respects with blanket of noxious entities in walks of day to day consumption of edibles Food growers, particularly fruits and vegetable growers dodge  to selfish use of   pesticides and insecticides, the wholesalers and retailers use artificial, toxic colorants, ripening agents and preservatives, and the food handlers at large having deficit knowledge nor possess  attitude on hygienic and sanitary aspects of food handling, preparation and service. 

The helpless consumers who are at the receiving end face risks of gloomily invitation of departure from planet earth. In the absence of any effective control system, in country  the food twisters are so rampant that sometimes it seems that it would be impossible to find a single food item in the market which impure  or adulterated. 

Unaware of the rampant use of toxic substances, the consumers continue to buy and eat foods. In most cases the consumers are not even aware of the potential dangers of food adulteration and contamination.

 While the development of the marketing system of the rapidly growing processed foods and other foods is important, maintaining quality of all foods at levels of marketing (assembling, cleaning, sorting, processing and packaging) is a key concern and challenge. 

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