label (as distinct from a sign) is affixed to a container or product, on which is information or symbols about the product or item. Labels have been developed over time with increased technology to withstand more environments, products, and textures and to supply more pertinent information.
European artists introduced labels stuck onto products with different types of gum. Initially placed on crates to showcase fruits, vegetables, cans, and boxes of cigars, these early labels are now bought and sold as collectibles.
1906 – Food and Drugs Act
Congress passed the Food and Drugs Act on June 30, 1906. The Food and Drugs Act prohibited interstate commerce in misbranded and adulterated foods, drinks and drugs.
The Meat Inspection Act was passed the same day. Disclosures of insanitary conditions in meatpacking plants (exposed by Sinclair Lewis’ classic muckraking book, The Jungle), the use of poisonous preservatives and dyes in foods, and cure-all claims for worthless and dangerous patent medicines lead to the enactment of these laws.* Lewis, a socialist, famously quipped ‘I Aimed For The Public’s Heart, And. . .hit It In The Stomach’.
1930’s – The Self-adhesive Label
R. Stanton Avery manufactured the first self-adhesive label. In addition, a silicone coating protected the printing and stickers.
Four men with dozens of years of combined experience in the custom label business founded United Label Corporation in Newark, New Jersey. Read more about United Label’s History.
1966 – Fair Packaging and Labeling Act
The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act requires honest and informative labels on all consumer products in interstate commerce. As part of this act, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enforcing provisions on foods, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices.*
1970’s – Barcodes
Barcodes printed on packaging and labels automate check out for supermarket checkout systems. Barcodes spread to many other tasks. The very first scanning of the now ubiquitous Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode was on a pack of Wrigley Company chewing gum in June 1974.
Home and small offices could use inkjet printers self-adhesive labels.
1990-Nutrition Labeling and Education Act
The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act required all packaged foods to bear nutrition labeling. In addition, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act requires health claims for foods consistent with terms defined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The law preempts state requirements about food standards, nutrition labeling, and health claims. Also, for the first time, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act authorizes some health claims for foods. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act standardized the food ingredient panel and serving sizes.*
1999 – Drug Facts Law
The Drug Facts Law mandates a standardized format for over the counter drugs. Like the nutrition facts label for foods, this standardized format allows consumers to better understand and compare different products.*
The complexity and ever changing world of labeling regulation require up to date expertise. Therefore, the demands of high quality and reasonable cost keep pushing labels forward.
At United Label, we have had a lot of experience with advancing technology. Contact us and we will give you the business you need to manufacture more labels.
Have a question about label manufacturing? Contact us today for a free estimate at (973) 589-6500.