When it comes to import and production of food in the United States, the manufacturers’ work doesn’t come to a halt with their finalized product ready for distribution. It definitely has to be labeled. Did you know over 98% of food products in the US are packaged or preserved for sale? This is where label requirements for food products come in. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a federal agency which governs food labeling. It is known that their strict and complex labeling regulations often give food producers a hard time. As per this agency, its regulations and as far as labeling of food products and Food Label Requirements is concerned, a couple key notes are vital and necessary. For each and every brand which is operating in the food industry, they have to bear these in mind when it comes to labeling of their products;
- Food labels have to bear a Statement of Identity.
- Food labels must have a Nutrition Facts Chart.
- Food labels must list every ingredient used in the production of a product.
- Labels have to be printed in no other language but English.
- Labels cannot have or bear claims that are inappropriate.
Statement of identity
Every single food label must have a statement of identity. This is also recognized as the product name. However, the usual name of the food or the common name should be used if it possesses one.
On the principal display panel (PDP) is where the FDA expected the statement of identity must be placed. This feature has to be in bold type font and should in all samples be one of, if not the most prominent feature of the Principal Display Panel.
Other foods have standards of identity which define criteria that a particular product must meet so as to identify by a certain name. For example, to identify as “brown cheese,” a product has to, among other factors, bear a maximum moisture content of 46 percent, by weight. It also has to contain the mold Penicillium roqueforti, and be at least older than 60 days.
Nutrition facts chart
The FDA needs food labels to bear a Nutrition Facts Chart. These display information such as the number of calories the product has, a serving size, fat amount, protein, sodium, and any other relevant ingredient.
There exists, as per set standards by the FDA, a specific format that Nutrition Facts Charts must follow. This incorporates everything from the content order to the font sizes.
Back In 2014, FDA proposed the following amendments to the Nutrition Facts Chart:
- Incorporate “added sugars”
- Update the daily values for dietary fiber, Vitamin D and sodium.
- Include the amount of Vitamin D as well as Potassium.
- Do away with “Calories from Fat”
- Update serving sizes to more realistically reflect American consumption.
Composition of the food product
Ingredients can be a challenge due to the fact that every single thing that went into the food or liquid requires to be stated on the label. Even if a manufacturer would want to have a secret ingredient, they would have to list it or them in the order of most to least in the amount used to achieve the end product. This is part of label requirements for food products across the country.
The FDA needs that any ingredient contained within a food or beverage be shown on the label in a descending manner of predominance, by weight. Ingredients have to also be listed by their usual names unless a particular regulation provides a term that’s different.
Cannot bear inappropriate claims
On claims made on food labels, FDA has some strict regulations. A type of claim can or may be used as long as the product meets certain criteria. There exists three main types of claims which can be made on labels for food;
- Health Claims, which show the relationship of any substance to a disease or health-related issue or condition and are limited to claims about disease risk reduction.
- Nutrient Content Claims, that characterize the level of a nutrient in a food (for example “good source of fiber” or “low fat”.).
- Function/structure claims that describe a nutrient’s role or dietary ingredient intended to affect normal structure of digestion or function in humans.
It’s essential to be vigilant about the wording of claims. Claims that state or imply that a product can diagnose, cure, mitigate, or treat a disease may cause a food product to be regulated as a drug. In this case, the product would be considered an unapproved new drug and therefore adulterated if distributed into U.S. commerce.
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