Food labels symbols

Symbols and pictograms to make labels more clear

14 March 2018

Every day, we buy products that have symbols on the packaging that are designed to ensure that the information given to the consumer is clear and not deceptive. Let's see what are the most used symbols / pictograms.

Symbol Glass and fork

This symbol is affixed to indicate which objects are suitable for contact with food. The products bearing this symbol are in conformity with the relevant EU regulation (1935/2004 EC) and do not release harmful substances in foo



The marketed food products show a barcode, but what is the meaning of the numbers that appear there?

The first two flags identify the national coding authority, the next 5 flags identify the manufacturer's code and the further 5 digits the product among the company's various products. The last number only serves as a check, so that the computer can notice an eventual "oversight".

The code aims to facilitate and speed up the logistics and the collection process.


QR code

QR Codes (acronym for Quick Response code) are small two-dimensional symbols, supports for storing small amounts of data or information. Invented as an alternative to barcodes, they were initially used to quickly track and identify materials and products in warehouses and businesses. Over the years, the functions of the QR code have changed profoundly. Even though they are still used in warehouses and companies, companies are increasingly using QR codes as a means of communication or information to expand the contents of the labels.


Recycling symbols

The recycling symbol is the international symbol indicating the recycling of waste. It consists of three arrows that form a Mobius strip. It is found on paper, cardboard and cellulose packaging. It means that the product is recyclable but also that the packaging is made from recycled materials.

Instead, the symbol with the three tight arrows that follow is found in plastic packaging, with a number or an acronym referring to the material used. The numbers present within it, from 1 to 6, indicate the type of plastic used according to a pre-established code. In some cases, number is also accompanied by abbreviations. The presence of the number 7 indicates that the material is not recyclable.  
The symbol of the man who throws the paper in the bin indicates that the product does not comply with the rules governing the separate collection, therefore the waste must be thrown into the undifferentiated.  

Green Dot

Especially in Northern Europe and in Germany, the mark called Punto Verde or Der Grune Punk certifies that the producer adheres to the consortia that organize the recovery and recycling of packaging. The Green Point identifies those involved in the collection and disposal of waste, while not specifying anything about the recyclability of the product or the presence of recyclable material, a function that is carried out by other symbols.

Companies that export to other European countries where such consortia are already operational, place it in packaging or on the labels of their products where they belong to the aforementioned consortia.


The FSC mark

The FSC® mark identifies products containing wood from forests managed correctly and responsibly according to strict environmental, social and economic standards. The forest of origin has been independently checked and evaluated in accordance with these standards established and approved by the Forest Stewardship Council® a.c. through the participation and consent of the interested parties.



Symbol of esteem

The symbol of estimate (e) is an EEC mark and indicates the word Europe. Each European country has standard automatic mechanisms that allow monitoring the quantity of the product. If this estimate is respected, producers can affix the letter e.



Per "denominazione d'origine" si intende il nome di un'area geografica delimitata che designa un prodotto alimentare originario di quel luogo e le cui caratteristiche sono esclusivamente dell'ambiente geografico (comprensivo dei fattori naturali ed umani). Tutte le fasi, sia la produzione, che la trasformazione ed elaborazione devono avvenire nell'area stessa. Il processo produttivo deve essere conforme ad un disciplinare di produzione.  



Per "indicazione geografica protetta" si intende il nome di un'area geografica determinata che designa un prodotto alimentare originario di tale zona e di cui una determinata qualità, o un'altra caratteristica possa essere attribuita all'origine geografica. Una delle fasi, la produzione, e/o trasformazione, e/o elaborazione avvenga nell'area stessa. Il processo produttivo deve essere conforme ad un Disciplinare di produzione. 




For "Guaranteed Traditional Specialties", we identify those agri-food products, not specifically related to a territory, but such that are characterized by traditional production methods.



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