Custom Meat Product Labels
Custom Meat Labels
In the United States, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) closely regulates the labeling of meat and poultry products intended for interstate commerce. These labels play an essential role in supporting consumer health and safety by providing pertinent details about how the product should be handled, when it must be used, where it was processed, etc. This information allows consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions and helps maintain traceability in the case of contaminated, spoiled, or otherwise non-consumable food products.
Below, we provide an overview of meat product labels, including design guidelines, common problems, and service offerings at Star Label Products.
Labeling Design Guidelines for Meat Products
All meat and poultry labels are required to have five key pieces of information. However, they can have additional information requirements, depending on the type of product. The five required pieces of information are:
- Product Name— The product must be labeled according to an appropriate standard of identity set by the FSIS, a common or usual name, or, if neither exists, a descriptive name that accurately defines the product contained in the packaging.
- Official Inspection Legend and Establishment Number— The inspection legend and establishment number confirm that the package contents have passed FSIS inspection at a specific processing facility and are suitable for consumption.
- Address Line— This line indicates the name and address or the contact information of the facility that processed/packed the product.
- Net Weight or Quantity Statement— The net weight/quantity statement provides consumers with an idea of how much product they are purchasing. Some deviation may exist within approved ranges due to moisture variability and related factors.
- Ingredients Statement— Listed in order of the greatest presence in the final product to the least, the ingredients statement provides consumers with a list of all components included in any item composed of two or more ingredients.
Some of the other pieces of information that may appear on a meat or poultry label include:
- Handling Statement— If required to maintain a product’s freshness or quality, a handling statement should identify the appropriate handling conditions for the product, such as “keep refrigerated” or “keep frozen”.
- Nutrition Information— Product nutrition information must be declared on the label of meat products, except for raw, single-ingredient items and products distributed by small establishments (e.g., small butcher shops). This information must include total product calories, calories from fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugar, protein, and other nutrient information. The product processor or packager may also voluntarily provide other nutrient information.
Each standard comes with additional instructions regarding font face, size, color, and placement on the principal display or information panels.
Common Meat Label Problems
There are many factors to consider when designing and creating meat product labels. For example, the characteristics of the product and the conditions of the storage environment can affect the durability and longevity of the label. Some of the most common meat labeling issues include:
- Freezing/thawing temperatures— The adhesives used to affix a label to a meat or poultry product must accommodate the production and storage conditions. For example, a freezer-safe adhesive must be used with freezer items, while a refrigerator-safe adhesive must be used with refrigerator items. Otherwise, there is a risk of the label not adhering properly to the product.
- Moisture— Moisture from the product itself or the surrounding environment can also affect the ability of the label to adhere to the surface of the product. As such, it is also important to consider moisture conditions when choosing a label adhesive.
- Uneven surfaces— Some meat and poultry products have uneven surfaces, which can make label application challenging. For these products, it is best to use a conformable label material and an application-specific adhesive.
Star Label Can Help Your Product Stand Out on the Shelves
At Star Label Products, we have the knowledge, skills, and tools to help you design and create labels that make your meat and poultry products stand out from the competition. Whether you need printing-only assistance or full design and printing assistance, we’ve got you covered.
Great label designs can make all the difference in the popularity of a meat or poultry product. Our graphics department is staffed with highly skilled and experienced technicians that can design a custom meat label that meets your exact specifications and standards.
Once the label design is completed and approved, we can produce it in the desired quantities in our state-of-the-art printing facility. Our printing capabilities include:
- Flexographic Label Printing— This printing process uses UV or water-based inks to print up to 12 colors. We can produce roll, sheet, or fan-folded labels from various substrates with combination, multi-ply, and two-sided printing options.
- Digital Label Printing— This printing process is suitable for any shape, paper, and film substrate, allowing for highly customizable printing and design at a reasonable cost. It is better for specialized, prototype, or other small-run projects.
In addition to our printing capabilities, we offer embellishment services to enhance the textural and visual finishes of labels. Our embellishment options include tactile finishes, specialty laminates, spot gloss, and much more.
Let Us Help You Create the Perfect Meat Label
Proper labeling of meat and poultry products is imperative to consumer health and safety and compliance with regulatory guidelines. If you need assistance designing or creating labels for your meat and poultry products that are fully compliant and stand out from the competition, turn to the experts at Star Label Products.
Our team can guide you through the label design and production process to ensure your labels meet and/or exceed your expectations. Free sample packets are available upon request so you can get a better idea of what we can do for you. Once you’ve placed a custom label order, turnaround is between three to five days.
To find out more about our custom label capabilities or request a quote, contact us today.