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The application of labels
A label is a piece of paper, polymer, cloth, metal, or other material affixed to a container or product, on which is written or printed information about the product. Information printed directly on a container or article can also be considered labeling.

Labels have many uses including providing information on a product's origin, use, shelf-life and disposal, some or all of which may be governed by legislation such as that for food in the UK or USA. Methods of production and attachment to packaging are many and various and may also be subject to internationally recognised standards.

Labels may be used for any combination of identification, information, warning, instructions for use, environmental advice or advertising. They may be stickers, permanent or temporary labels or printed packaging.


Permanent product identification by a label is commonplace; labels need to remain secure throughout the life of the product. For example, a VIN plate on an automobile must be resistant to heat, oils and tampering; similarly, a food label must endure until the food has been used.

Removable product labels need to bond until they are removed. For example, a label on a new refrigerator has installation, usage and environmental information: the label needs to be able to be removed cleanly and easily from the unit once installed.

Packaging may have labeling attached to or integral with the package. These may carry pricing, barcodes, UPC identification, usage guidance, addresses, advertising, recipes, and so on. They also may be used to help resist or indicate tampering or pilferage.


Garments normally carry separate care/treatment labels which, in some regions, are subject to legislation.[4][5] Textile labels may be woven into the garment or attached, and may be heat resistant (so survivable in hot-air dryers and when pressed), colorfast (so does not bleed onto the garment), washable, leather or PVC/Plastic. Printed labels are an alternative to woven labels.

Textiles containing pesticides as an ingredient may also require government approval and compulsory labeling. In the USA, for example, labels have to state the pesticide registration number, statement of ingredients, storage and disposal information, and the following statement: "It is a violation of Federal Law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling”. A label including a company name or identification number and a material content list may also be required.

Mailing labels identify the addressee, the sender and any other information which may be useful in transit. Many software packages such as word processor and contact manager programs produce standardized mailing labels from a data set that comply with postal standards. These labels may also include routing barcodes and special handling requirements to expedite delivery.

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