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Why do products need accurate labels?

When buying products, it's clear why those products need to have accurate labels. Without them, consumers like yourself will not be able to find the proper products, and sales will decline. However, from a legal perspective, the accuracy of such labels is even more important.

In Canada, labelling is governed by the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act. This must be followed, as it is a regulatory statute. Under the Act, any prepacked products have to have labels that are both meaningful and accurate. If false claims are made or a label is misleading, the Act has been violated.

Required information includes the name of the product, the identity of the dealer, and the net quantity.

Accurate labels are needed to help consumers so that they can make informed decisions, and so that they won't buy products based on fabricated label claims that turn out not to be true. Additionally, accuracy is needed to keep buyers safe.

Accuracy is doubly important with drugs and medications, as mistakes such as inaccurate directions for dosages could cause people to become sick or even die as a result of the improper use of the medication.

To enforce the Act, inspectors can go into a store at a reasonable hour, look at any prepackaged products, even if that means opening the packages, and then seize products that violate the Act.

Those who have been misled and harmed by improper labelling and packaging materials need to know what rights they have to seek compensation. Litigation can sometimes be used by multiple consumers when many have suffered due to the same labelling mistakes.

Source: Competition Bureau, "Labelling Corner," accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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