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Hacking Food Labeling Laws – Schneier on Security

In a recent article titled “Hacking Food Labeling Laws,” the focus is on new Mexican laws regarding food labeling and the clever tactics employed by food manufacturers to bypass these regulations. The article highlights various approaches taken by companies such as Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz to ensure their products do not comply with the labeling requirements. One method involves designing packages with two nearly identical labels, but only one side featuring the necessary warning. Supermarket clerks often unintentionally hide the warning by placing the products with it facing inward.

Additionally, some companies have found innovative ways to keep their mascots on packaging without reformulating their foods, as mandated by the law. Bimbo, an international bread company that owns popular brands like Entenmann’s and Takis in the United States, removed their mascot from packaging but printed it directly on the food product itself – a pancake, in this case. The packaging was made clear, allowing consumers to still see the mascot.

These tactics demonstrate the lengths to which food manufacturers are willing to go to ensure their products comply with labeling laws while still maintaining their brand identity and market appeal. While high-pressure lobbying tactics and lawsuits are common, companies are now resorting to more creative methods to circumvent regulations and avoid costly reformulations.

In conclusion, the article sheds light on the issue of food labeling laws and the challenges faced by regulators in ensuring compliance. It highlights specific examples of companies hacking these laws, such as using dual labels to hide warnings and printing mascots directly on food products. These practices raise concerns about the effectiveness of labeling regulations and the need for stricter enforcement to protect consumer rights and health.

Key Points:
1. Mexican food labeling laws face challenges from food manufacturers.
2. Companies like Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz design packages with two labels, hiding the warning required by law.
3. Bimbo found a loophole by printing mascots on the food product itself, rather than on the packaging.
4. These tactics reveal the lengths companies go to comply with labeling laws while maintaining their brand identity.
5. Stricter enforcement is necessary to protect consumer rights and health.

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