Industrial Electronics

Study: Regulations need to be put in place as technology is integrated into food labeling

26 March 2020

A new study from the University of Exeter argues that, with the rise of technology in food labeling, regulators need to put rules in place so companies do not take advantage of the technology and that it is used for the public good. As technology evolves, the laws and regulations surrounding it should evolve too. There is a danger that only companies would benefit from this technology, rather than the technology benefiting the consumer.

Regulations could include the introduction of more specific rules about the content and design of consumer product labels to prevent producers from manipulating a consumer’s product and safety regulations with AI. The study says that AI could play a significant role in making labels comprehensive and personal, but regulators need to ensure that technology is being used for the public good and help customers.

Currently, AI is used mainly to collect data about customers or improve manufacturing and distribution. New regulations could include the introduction of more specific rules about the Source: UnsplashSource: Unsplashcontent and design of consumer product labels to prevent producers from manipulating a consumer’s product and safety regulations with AI.

Technology and food labeling could benefit consumers in many ways. For example, users could store information about their allergies on their smart devices. When they enter a store, this information could be picked up by interconnected store devices. The ingredients a consumer is allergic to could be highlighted on labels of products when the customer is near them. Facial recognition can be used by shops and manufacturers to collect data on the specific needs of the customers, prompt staff to offer assistance and enable other features in the store.

AI could also be used to monitor products after they leave the factory. Currently, companies can argue that they are not responsible for a product after it leaves the factory floor. With AI, companies would have responsibility for the product through its entire life.

More extensive AI product labeling could provide customers with a greater list of warnings about product risks. The team says this shouldn’t be an excuse for manufacturers to avoid taking action or pass responsibility when a product becomes unsafe. Personalized labeling would allow producers to gain more insights into their supply chain and more control over their products and reach more consumers. Increased monitoring raises product safety and reduces the company’s liability. Consumers can rely on this tech to provide better product information and for more realistic expectations of products.

But all of this doesn't matter if the proper regulations are not put in place. In order for both manufacturers and consumers to benefit from technology in stores, regulations need to be put in place to ensure that the technology is being used for good.

This study was published in the European Journal of Risk Regulation.



Powered by CR4, the Engineering Community

Discussion – 0 comments

By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and Terms of Use.
Engineering Newsletter Signup
Get the Engineering360
Stay up to date on:
Features the top stories, latest news, charts, insights and more on the end-to-end electronics value chain.
Advertisement
Weekly Newsletter
Get news, research, and analysis
on the Electronics industry in your
inbox every week - for FREE
Sign up for our FREE eNewsletter
Advertisement
Find Free Electronics Datasheets
Advertisement