by Eric F. Greenberg
Packaging and its partners
When packagers speak of packaging, frequently they are referring to the physical structure holding a product. Of course, most packaging, and retail packaging in particular, is usually covered to some degree by label content, so sometimes people refer to a product's "packaging" when what they are referring to is labeling. The best way to avoid potential confusion is to remember that packaging includes the physical structure as its labeling.
It's also been a longstanding contention, and not original with me, to note that packaging as such plays an important role in making a product safe, both in terms of the protective and preservative functions it can serve as well as the directions, warnings and other information that might be contained on the labeling. In fact, it's most accurate to say that what makes a product safe for consumer use is often a combination of its physical characteristics (chemical formulation for example), plus the way it is packaged (unit dose is an example), plus the statements on its labeling (most notably directions for correct use and warnings about when not to use it). [A note about terminology: The legal definition of "label" refers to written, printed or graphic matter on a product's immediate container, while "labeling" means the label, plus what's on any outer container or wrapper, or otherwise accompanying the article.]