Are Warning Labels Really Necessary?

Posted in Articles

I saw an article this morning about a husband and wife doctor team working on making a safer warning label for pharmaceuticals that alert users when their drugs expire and graphically inform not to take them at that time. Here are a few points of interest with such a project. First, I applaud their effort in addressing this issue. Second is their ability to make this actually work (upon expiration, X's in circles appear on the medication package acting as a warning). Third, is the fact that the design may never see fruition due to bureaucratic red tape and increased costs for pharmaceutical companies. With these points considered, should we pursue having something of this nature explored and developed for food products and possibly other retail items? I realize that there are "Sell By This Date" or "Use By This Date" indicators out there, but do they really do the best job possible? I don't always look for the dates on all my food items and when I do, I have to decide when the date runs close to the date in question (like today or yesterday! This milk smells ok!!) Do we put such a responsibility on manufacturers and retailers or should we go with the "Consumer Beware" motto? Remember, warning labels are exactly that - warning labels. Do you want them to take on a larger role or do you trust that everyone can handle this? Consider your elderly parents or grandparents looking for the expiration date. I understand that we deal with accountability every day and this may be a slippery slope. Let me know what you think? Would you recommend a stronger solution to your client if the situation came up? At CTI, we work hard to best packaging solutions for all involved.

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