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FDA Food Labeling Compliance: A Guide

Leveraging the internet for guidelines and standards of food labeling has become a common task, and yet many people still struggle to understand and follow these. Generally speaking, the FDA regulates all food products sold in America, but how much does it cost to comply with these laws? This blog post is a guide that lays out all of the requirements you should take if you’re looking to sell your product in the US.

Current FDA Food Label Requirements

1.  Designations in Your Product

Labels must contain designations of the net quantity of contents. Designations may be expressed as either weight or volume measurements. In addition to the basic requirements, labels must also contain any other information that is necessary for an accurate statement of the number of contents.

2.  Nutrition Labeling

According to Seagull Scientific, “The food production and food services industries face an increasingly complex set of regulations and standards for food labeling and traceability across the global food supply chain.”

Foods shipped in interstate commerce or sold through vending machines must have nutrition FDA labeling compliance. This includes a ‘Nutrition Facts’ panel, serving size information, and a statement of the number of servings per container. Current regulations state that the Nutrition Facts Panel should be located on either the front or back of a product’s package.

3.  Ingredients Labeling

Ingredient labeling varies from product to product, depending on what is listed as an ingredient. The FDA has set out specific guidelines for labeling of ingredients, and all ingredients used in a finished product must be evaluated by the agency before they can be included on a label.

4.  Food Additive Labeling

Food additives must be labeled as such and included in an ingredients list. All food additives must also be approved by the FDA and listed on the ‘food additive’ section of the label.

5.  Net Weight Of The Product

Many times, consumers and businesses alike will need to know the net weight of a food product before purchasing it. This information must appear on the label for consumer use and must be in a format that can be read by the average consumer. The FDA has listed the correct formulations for net weight labels, but some products are exempt from this requirement.

Other Food Label Tips

There are lesser-known components of FDA food labels that are also important to include. These include

1.    health claims

To claim that a food item will help cure, relieve, or prevent a disease, one must petition the FDA for approval. Health claims can be made for food items that contain disease-fighting vitamins and nutrients.

2.    Allergens

Food manufacturers must include a statement on the label of any food item that contains a protein derived from one of several allergenic foods. These foods include:

  • Milk, eggs, fish (e.g., bass, flounder, or cod), Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, or shrimp), tree nuts (e.g., almonds, pecans, or walnuts), wheat, peanuts

The allergen labeling requirement does not apply to foods regulated by the FDA under the Meat and Poultry Product Inspection Act. These include meat, poultry, and egg products that are not ready to eat.

3.    Colors

Most food coloring ingredients are already owned by the FDA. For certain colors, the agency only owns the use in cosmetics and drugs, but it does own all artificial colors, which can be used freely in foods.

As you can see, there are many different components to FDA food labels. Understanding these components will help you design your label, which in turn will make your business more successful. For anyone trying to get their product on the market, this is a very important part of the process.

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