Labeling Considerations for Meat and Produce | Labeling Guide

Labeling Considerations for Meat and Produce

Meat and produce have specific labeling requirements that must be followed to help customers make informed decisions about the food they consume and allow for traceability in the supply chain. Labeling errors can lead to costly recalls that hurt the already-thin margins of meat and produce suppliers. 

The companies that supply these food products need to be aware of the specific produce labeling or meat labeling requirements, ensure they are being met, and apply the correct labels as quickly and accurately as possible. This labeling guide includes an overview of what suppliers need to know to streamline this labeling process.

What are the mandatory labeling requirements for meat?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides guidelines for labeling meat, poultry, and egg products. 

USDA meat labeling requirements for the product label include:

  • product name
  • inspection legend and establishment number
  • handling statement
  • net weight statement
  • ingredients statement
  • address line
  • nutrition facts, and 
  • safe handling instructions

The Labeling Requirements Guide states that this information must be prominent and conspicuous, and “in such terms as ‘to render it likely to be read and understood by the ordinary individual under customary conditions of purchase and use.’” 

There are other considerations to consider as well, such as meat Country of Origin labeling. According to the guide, “FSIS requires imported meat and poultry products to bear the name of the country of origin, preceded by the words ‘Product of.’”

The Labeling Requirements Guide breaks down all meat labeling requirements in greater detail.

What are the mandatory labeling requirements for produce?

According to the Produce Marketing Association, the produce industry uses various labels “for price identification, inventory tracking and category management,” which “can indicate the brand, variety, country of origin, a barcode and other information.” Specific labeling requirements differ between trade items, like cases and pallets, and the consumer units sold in stores.

Nutrition labeling for raw produce is voluntary, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Produce suppliers should be aware that labeling requirements for produce may vary from country to country.

Importance of food labeling requirements for meat and produce

Proper meat labeling and produce labeling is important for several reasons. For consumers, it provides useful information that can help them make more informed decisions about what they eat and help keep them safe; meat labels, for example, are required to include nutrition facts and safe handling instructions.

For suppliers, correct labeling helps ensure that there is traceability in the supply chain. According to Packaging Labeling, if there is a problem with a product, a barcode and/or identification number on the label can be used to trace the product from the customer “back through the manufacturing, shipment, delivery, and raw material purchasing process such that the supplies of the original raw material can be identified.”

Of course, ideally these types of issues would be avoided altogether, as recalls can be costly and damage the brand reputation of the manufacturer. Again, this comes back to proper labeling; according to Food Engineering Magazine, more than 60 percent of FDA recalls are due to labeling issues, including poor quality barcodes, missing or incorrect information, and improperly positioned labels. 

Improving the Efficiency of Meat Labeling and Produce Labeling

Companies interested in creating the most accurate labeling process for meat, produce, and other food products should consider an automatic labeling system. Transitioning from manual labeling to a labeling machine can create a faster and more efficient process that is less likely to be impacted by human error. 

With print and apply machines, for example, a crisp, clean label with the proper information can be printed and smoothly applied to either an individual item, such as a package of meat, or to a larger case, tote, or pallet. 

At Paragon Labeling, our labeling machines can be configured to label for a variety of labeling applications because our products use a modular and flexible design that allows you to reconfigure your labeling system as your needs evolve, without needing to buy a whole new system. We understand the unique labeling requirements of food and beverage companies and have labeling expertise for a wide variety of food products, including meat and produce.

Interested in learning how a labeling system can help streamline your meat or produce labeling? Contact our labeling experts to learn more.

Wine Labeling Guide: Labeling Requirements and Methods

Wine Labeling Guide

There are many considerations when labeling wine. Wineries and other beverage suppliers need to factor in not only government wine labeling requirements, but how the label will look from a branding perspective. 

When done correctly, wine labeling can entice consumers and help differentiate the product in a saturated market. But strict labeling requirements and inefficient labeling methods can make wine labeling costly and time consuming, especially for smaller suppliers. In these situations, labeling technology can help streamline the process.

Wine Labeling Requirements

Wine labels have separate labeling requirements from food products

According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, mandatory information on the brand label includes:

  • Appellation of Origin (mandatory in certain circumstances)
  • Brand Name
  • Class or Type Designation
  • Percentage of Foregn Wine, if applicable

Additionally, required information on any label includes:

  • Alcohol Content
  • Color Ingredient Disclosures, if applicable
  • Country of Origin (imports only)
  • Health Warning Statement
  • Name and Address
  • Net Contents
  • Sulfite Declaration

You can find basic mandatory labeling information for wine in The Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM).

Why Wines Need Labeling

Wine labeling requirements allow consumers to make an informed decision about the wine they are buying and consuming. According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau:

The Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act sets forth standards for regulating the labeling and advertising of wine (containing at least 7 percent alcohol by volume), distilled spirits, and malt beverages. TTB’s regulations are written to prevent the deception of the consumer and provide them with “adequate information” as to the identity and quality of the product, to prohibit false or misleading statements, and to provide information as to the alcohol content of the product.

A well-designed wine label also gives brands the opportunity to stand out in a crowded liquor aisle. The Wine Enthusiast Magazine notes that there are beautiful and distinctive wine labels that are “filled with useful information about such things as blends, vineyards, fermentation practices and barrel management.” These details can make all the difference when consumers are choosing between brands and bottles. 

Wineries and beverage suppliers that want to make the most of their wine labels should consider how to use the limited space and choose which details about the wine will make it most appealing to a potential buyer. 

Improving Wine Labeling Efficiency

After wineries have designed wine labels with all of the relevant information, they still need to print them and apply them to the bottles. This can be a costly and time-consuming process when done manually. 

Print and apply labeling machines can print eye-catching labels with all of the proper information and apply them automatically to the wine bottle. Labelers for food and beverage applications are designed to print clear, crisp labels used to deliver industry information like brand name and alcohol content for a variety of products and packaging. This quick, repetitive process reduces human error and is much more efficient than doing it by hand. 

Although this type of machinery requires an initial investment, a print and apply labeler provides a strong ROI by working faster and more accurately than traditional methods, resulting in fewer costly errors that slow down production. Certain brands of labelers, like the ones through Paragon Labeling, can also be configured to label a variety of products, from the wine bottles themselves to the cartons used to deliver bulk orders.

Learn about food and beverage labeling here or contact our labeling experts.

Wine Labeling: Frequently Asked Questions

Who regulates wine labeling in the U.S.?

Wine labeling in the United States is regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

What labels do wine bottle labeling machines use?

The size, shape, and orientation of the wine label you use will depend in part on your wine bottle and specific wine bottle labeling machine. Some labeling solutions, like the ones sold by Paragon Labeling, can be configured for multiple labeling applications, including wipe-on and air-assisted roll-on.

Food Labeling Guide: Requirements & Methods for Efficient Labeling

Food Labeling Requirements and Efficient Labeling Methods

Proper food labeling helps consumers make more informed decisions about their nutrition, and is a critical factor in traceability and security for manufacturers. The food and beverage suppliers who label their products must work within government regulations for food labeling as well as any additional food labeling requirements set by major retailers to improve traceability. Meeting these increasingly stringent requirements can be costly and time-consuming for manufacturers, especially for those operating on thin margins. 

Fortunately, there are automated food labeling methods that can help suppliers more efficiently fulfill labeling requirements and help keep consumers safe. 

What is Food Labeling?

Food labeling refers to the labeling of an individual food product, such as a box of cereal or a bag of chips, or the labeling of pallets and totes containing bulk shipments of food products.

Food Labeling Requirements: Food and Drug Administration

The food and beverage industry has strict labeling requirements set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The FDA’s food labeling guide notes that there are two ways labels can be placed on packages and containers:

  1. ​​Place all required label statements on the front label panel (the principal display panel or PDP), or,
  2. Place certain specified label statements on the PDP and other labeling on the information panel (the label panel immediately to the right of the PDP, as seen by the consumer facing the product).

The PDP is the “portion of the package label that is most likely to be seen by the consumer at the time of purchase.” The statement of identity (name of the food) and the net quantity statement (amount of product) are required here.

To the right of the PDP is the information panel, which includes:

  • the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor
  • the ingredient list
  • nutrition labeling 
  • any required allergy labeling

The FDA has guidelines on the size and prominence of this label, stating that “For information panel labeling, use a print or type size that is prominent, conspicuous and easy to read.”

You can read the FDA’s food labeling guide for a full list of food labeling requirements.

Food Labeling Requirements: Retailer Requirements

In addition to government requirements, many major retailers have implemented their own food labeling requirements to improve processing and traceability. Walmart, for example, requires barcodes on the top and all four sides of the case for most food items, as well as other features such as the brand name and sub-brand for easy identification. These and other labeling requirements were put in place because incorrect labeling was making it harder for associates “to quickly find the correct products to deliver to the retail shelves”, according to Labeling & Coding News.

These retailer-specific labeling requirements add another layer of complexity for food and beverage suppliers who have a limited budget for labeling their products.

Importance of Labeling in Food and Beverage Industry

Food labeling requirements are important to the health and safety of consumers. 

On the consumer side, having clearly labeled nutrition and allergen information helps them make more informed choices about the products they buy and consume.

For manufacturers, proper food labeling is tied to traceability and security; according to Food Engineering,  “More than 60 percent of FDA recalls are due to labeling issues. Most of these errors relate to allergens. Processors inadvertently put the wrong label on products, a change in the ingredients (undeclared allergens) doesn’t show up on the label, or the label doesn’t include a complete list of allergens.”

To avoid these costly recalls, many food manufacturers are creating better supply chain visibility with technology that makes it easier and more cost-efficient to meet labeling requirements. Automatic labeling machines, for example, can be used to more quickly and consistently apply labels to products than manual processes, ensuring that barcodes are accessible and clearly visible. 

In fact, in the “Top 5 Trends in Enterprise Labeling” survey conducted by Loftware:

  • More than 63% of respondents “report they are currently combining digital technology with traditional practices to improve supply chain operations.”
  • More than 92% of respondents are working with labeling professionals to “help minimize or eliminate production stoppages, optimize supply chain operations, improve customer satisfaction and ultimately increase business.”

When confronted with more stringent labeling requirements and the improved supply chain they support, food and beverage manufacturers should consider the ways they can modernize their existing processes. Consulting with labeling experts can help find solutions that will create a modular and flexible product line for the specific compliance needs of their industry.

Food Labeling Methods

Manual processes can be time-consuming and prone to human error, leading to costly errors if labels are placed incorrectly. Introducing technology like an automatic labeling machine is one of the ways that a food and beverage manufacturer can streamline the labeling process and increase efficiency. 

These solutions can be configured to accurately place labels on a wide array of products, totes, and pallets so that labels remain easy to read and process throughout the supply chain. At Paragon Labeling, our print and apply systems are designed to print crisp, clean labels used to deliver SKU data, nutritional information, safe handling instructions, Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL), lot codes, expiration dates, Track & Trace as well as PTI compliance labels for a variety of products and packaging. 

Learn about our food industry labeling machines here.

Food Labeling FAQs

Which government agency is responsible for regulating most U.S. food labeling?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is “responsible for assuring that foods sold in the United States are safe, wholesome and properly labeled.” (source)

Where can a consumer find the FDA food labeling guide?

The FDA food labeling guide can be found at here

What is required to be on a food label?

According to the FDA Food Labeling Guide, food labels must include the statement of identity (name of food), net quantity statement (amount of product), the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor, the ingredient list, nutrition labeling, and any required allergy labeling.

When did food labeling start?

The 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was a “watershed in U.S. food policy”; according to the FDA, “The law provided for three kinds of food standards: 1) standards (definitions) of identity, 2) standards of quality, and 3) standards regulating the fill of container.” 

What foods are exempt from standard food labeling requirements?

According to the FDA Food Labeling Guide, some foods are exempt from the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) labeling requirements: “raw agricultural commodities (generally fresh fruits and vegetables)” and “highly refined oils derived from one of the eight major food allergens and any ingredient derived from such highly refined oil.”

How High-Performance Automatic Labeling Machines Improve Efficiency

Labeling and processing products and packaging is a necessary but often costly and time-consuming process. Manual labeling is prone to human error, and smudged and poorly applied labels can create bottlenecks. Whether you’re a manufacturing plant labeling pallets or a beverage company applying labels to bottles, you want your labeling to be efficient, accurate, and fast. Fortunately, high performance automatic labeling machines can streamline the process and provide a stronger ROI than other labeling solutions.

What is an automatic labeling machine?

An automatic labeling machine is an integral part of most automated packaging solutions. There are different types of automatic labeling machines, which include both print and apply labelers and apply-only machines. Print and apply labelers print and then immediately apply the labels, while apply-only machines apply pre-printed labels. Both types of machinery can be configured for different labeling applications, including front and back product labeling, horizontal wrap, flat carton labeling, and more.

How does an automatic labeling machine work?

These labeling machines are typically maintained on the plant floor by workers who can specify configurations for labels and the information included on them. When something is sent down a manufacturing line, the product is automatically labeled. The speed of label application is dependent on many variables, such as desired label placement, product size/length, and the method of product handling.  

Using an automatic labeling machine is significantly faster than manual labeling, and can reduce human error significantly. The proper application of a crisp, clear label makes it easier for products or packaging to be scanned and processed, creating a more streamlined processing workflow. 

At Paragon Labeling, our print engines come from top brands like Zebra or Sato. A full line of field interchangeable application modules allows users to label in virtually any orientation. The ZE500, for example, is a reliable printer with a wide-open printhead for easy cleaning and repairs, resulting in dramatically reduced downtime. An all-metal construction and sealed front panel are built with harsh environments in mind, helping your machine resist debris and debris.

We carry a number of automatic labeling machines to help users meet standard labeling requirements and streamline their workflow. 

Paragon Labeling automatic labeling machines

PLS-100 for Preprinted Labels

The PLS-100 is the premier decorative labeling solution for applying pre-printed labels onto products, cartons, cases, totes or pallets. With more standard features than similar products in the market, the PLS-100 provides end-users with the benefits of a customized solution for the price of a standard solution.

The PLS-100 is well-suited for a variety of industries due to its compatibility with a number of applicator modules, including wipe (merge), tamp, dual panel tamp, corner wrap, smart-tamp, and more. This automatic labeling machine can be customized to meet the unique labeling requirements of the healthcare industry or food and beverage packaging, or to clearly identify and brand your products, whether you have a product on retail shelves or a pallet on the manufacturing floor. 

In addition to its selection of application methods, the PLS-100 also has additional features for ease of use, including a PLC controller and backlit operator interface.

PLS-400 Plus: Print and Apply Labels

The PLS-400 Plus both prints and applies labels onto products, cartons, cases, totes or pallets. With its plate aluminum chassis, PLC controller, and remote mount interface, this robust system delivers an unparalleled value proposition with many standard features that are only options on other systems. 

Users have the option to configure this machine for decorative labeling, print and apply, or RFID, making it suitable for a wide range of industries, from the colorful labels of consumer goods to the regulated and information-dense labels of healthcare and nutrition. Once the machine has been configured, operator selectable product delays ensure accurate label placement to help streamline the labeling process and reduce labor cost, while also providing a strong ROI.

PLS-500: Print & Apply Pre-Printed Labels and RFID Solutions

The PLS-500 is the ultimate label application solution, dedicated to maximizing organizations’ productivity with superior quality and integration. Compared to other automatic labeling machines on the market, the PLS-500 offers more standard features, higher performance, and better cost-effectiveness for an overall greater ROI. 

The PLS-500 can apply pre-printed labels, utilize print and apply labeling, or be configured as a RFID solution. These systems employ a modular and flexible design that allows you to reconfigure your labeling system as your needs evolve without needing to buy a whole new system. And with the ability to label in virtually any orientation, the PLS-500 can be used in manufacturing, retail, consumer goods, healthcare, food and beverage, and more. 

This automatic labeling machine is sturdily built with a plate aluminum chassis and easy-to-use Allen Bradley PLC controller with remote mount interface and color touchscreen.

Interested in faster and more efficient labeling? Contact us for more information about Paragon Labeling’s labeling solutions.

Label Printing Machinery and Its Role in Improving Efficiency

Improving the packaging and labeling process is a concern in almost every industry. From the crisp, branded labels of consumer goods to the large pallets in manufacturing, plants are challenged with increasing efficiency without sacrificing quality. Label printing machinery is a popular solution, as it is faster and more accurate than manual labeling and cuts down on the potential for human error.

Types of label printing machinery

Two of the most common types of label printing machinery are the print and apply labeling machine, and the apply only labeling machine. 

At Paragon Labeling, our apply-only machines use Prime labels, which are used for creative branding on individual products, like a bottle of wine. This type of label does not contain variable information and all of the images and data on these labels are pre-printed on a press. Apply-only machines are massive, and can hold and apply large rolls of labels to product.

Print and apply machines, on the other hand, use blank labels for secondary packaging, like a pallet or tote. These labels include important information for shipping, including some real time data like lot codes, so it’s imperative that labels are printed and applied neatly.

The biggest advantage of label printing machinery is speed. Label application speed is dependent on many variables such as desired label placement, product size/length and method of product handling. The machinery works faster and more accurately than manual processes, especially when you’re dealing with a variety of surfaces. Different applicators are available for surfaces that are rough, round, flat, and more — the shape of the item being labeled dictates the type of label application.

At Paragon Labeling, our label printing machinery can be configured to do multiple types of applications. Workers who learn to maintain the machines will have more familiarity with these applicators, as the core components of our machinery are all the same. This makes it easier and faster to make changes or repairs. 

Print and apply labeling machine

The print and apply labeling machine is an integrated solution that prints and then immediately applies labels to products, cartons, cases, pallets, and totes. At Paragon Labeling, our print and apply machinery can be configured to apply Secondary labels in different placements, including front and back, top and bottom, horizontal wrap, flat carton, and wrap labeling of round products.

Apply only labeling machine

As the name implies, an apply-only labeling machine does not print its own labels, only applies them. These machines can be used to place decorative labels onto a variety of products and be configured similar to the print and apply machine. Our apply-only machines use crisp Prime labels to convey branding and product information.

Label printing machinery industry applications

Label printing machinery is popular for labeling applications in a wide range of industries, from the unique labeling requirements of healthcare to the varying package sizes of consumer goods. 

Medical and Pharmacy

The healthcare industry has unique requirements for safety, material, and label size. Companies considering labeling machinery in this industry should look for customizable labels and a system that can improve efficiency while still maintaining a high level of quality and safety.


Label printing machinery is commonly used in manufacturing, where companies are under enormous pressure to improve efficiency at a low cost. This industry prefers a machine that can print and apply crisp, clean labels to a variety of shapes and sizes, including secondary packaging, master cartons, shipping cases, pallets, and even individual products.

Consumer Goods

The consumer goods industry favors label printing machinery that can provide flexibility in packaging for promotions and new marketing programs. Both types of label printing machinery are typically used to cover each step of the packaging process. Configurable apply-only machines, for example, are well-suited for applying Prime labels to nearly any shape and style of product. Once that product is packaged, a print and apply machine can label Secondary product packaging used to deliver bulk product to retail outlets. 


Automatic labeling machines are also popular in retail, where the quality of product labels helps catch a customer’s eye. Customizable labels and a modular, highly reliable machine are key to a faster process and strong ROI.

Beverage and Food

Food and beverage companies face the challenge of unique labeling requirements, including SKU data, nutritional information, safe handling instructions, Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL), lot codes, and expiration dates. Label printing machinery can be used to quickly apply these customizable labels to a variety of individual products or to secondary packaging like cases, totes, and pallets. 

Benefits of using labeling printing machinery

One of the biggest advantages to using label printing machinery is that it is faster and more accurate than manual labeling, cutting down significantly on the potential for human error. By ensuring that clear, crisp labels are being correctly applied to a variety of surface types, plants are saved from costly mistakes that can slow down processing time.

Interested in learning more? See label printing machinery in action here