An ingredient statement is important information to consumers and required of manufacturers by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ingredient statements can be simple or complex depending on your food product, but the following are a few basic rules that apply.
All ingredients used to fabricate a food must be listed in the ingredient statement by its common or usual name, unless it is covered by an exemption. If your product is a single ingredient food, such as sugar, you are not required to have an ingredient statement. Additionally, if there are incidental additives that are not functional in the finished food, such as a processing aid, you are not required to list those. Ingredients present in amounts of two percent or less may be listed at the end of the ingredient statement followed by a qualifying statement “contains two percent or less of…”
Ingredients must be listed in descending order of predominance by weight. Don’t be fooled by household measurements—a cup of sugar (200g) weighs more than a cup of flour (120g). If preparation of your food requires the same ingredient added more than once, it’s possible to list it just once in your statement providing you know the combined weight of the ingredient.
If you have a multi-component ingredient, such as chocolate, you can do a parenthetical listing of all ingredients within the ingredient. Chocolate would be listed in your ingredient statement where it falls by weight and then the ingredients used in the chocolate would be listed in parentheses. It might look like this: “…chocolate (cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin).” You can also incorporate each ingredient of the multi-component ingredients into the overall ingredient statement, providing you know the individual weights.
Special rules apply for listing spices, flavorings and colorings. In many cases they can be listed as “spices,” “flavorings” and “colorings,” but it’s best to refer to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 21 for detailed regulations on your particular ingredient in question. In fact, when in doubt on how to list your ingredients it is best to refer to the CFR or have On The Menu assist.