ISO includes QR codes and RFID tech in product labelling update

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has updated its product labelling guidelines to ensure food information contained in QR codes and RFID technology is made more accessible to the consumer.

The Swiss-based organisation has made updates to the International guide ISO/IEC Guide 14​, which strives to improve product information quality so shoppers can make informed purchasing choices.

“Addressing the needs and expectations of customers when it comes to product information is a key ingredient in building or maintaining a brand’s reputation,”​ said Michele Althoff, convenor of working group(WG) 15, the technical group that developed the guide.

Althoff said the updates to labelling standards took into account the emergence of product labelling technology as well as provisions for those who require assistance when inspecting label information.

“QR codes, as well as the information needs of vulnerable persons, such as those who could be at risk of harm from products due to their age or other limitations have been taken into account,”​ she added.

“It also pays closer attention to the treatment of sustainability and privacy issues.”

RFID innovation

As well as QR codes, the ISO/IEC Guide 14:2018 also mentions the increased use of RFID tags by food makers to include product and manufacturer details as well as transmit measured environmental factors such as temperature and relative humidity.

The guide also seeks to add sustainability-related content for recycling purposes as well as the deletion of obsolete content on purchase information bodies and purchase information systems.

“Consumer uncertainties are reduced and consumer satisfaction is increased,”​ the guide said.

“Those who supply a high standard of product information, taking into consideration the needs of vulnerable consumers, enhance their commercial reputation and save time and money, by reducing enquiries, complaints and returns.”

Antonino Serra Cambaceres, advocacy manager for Consumers International, said product knowledge is an important factor for customers.

“As information is key for consumers, the more detailed and accurate it is, the more protected are consumer rights,”​ he said.

“Consumers must be confident in the products and services they use and they also must have as much information as possible to make informed choices.” 

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