At On The Menu, LLC, food labels and nutrition analysis is our business. These days many consumers are paying more attention to labels and expect to find accurate information. There are five main federal food labeling laws that regulate production and labeling of food products.
Five Food Labeling Laws
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C, FFDCA, FDCA), is a set of laws passed by Congress in 1938 giving authority to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to oversee the safety of food (including bottled water and chewing gum), drugs, and cosmetics including additives, tobacco, medical devices, dietary supplements. This law tightened existing regulation over food and drugs and added cosmetics and new medical devices to the law. It also enhanced the ability of the government to enforce the law including both civil and criminal penalties.
Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, (FP&L) 1967, directs the Federal Trade Commission. FTC and the FDA to issue regulations requiring that all consumer goods, be labeled to disclose identity of commodity, and name and place of business of the product’s manufacturer, packer, or distributor, and the net quantity of contents in terms of weight, measure, or numerical count (measurement must be in both metric and inch/pound units). The FPLA is designed to make value comparisons easy and to prevent unfair or deceptive packaging and labeling.
The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, 1990, gave the FDA the authority to require nutrition labeling of most foods regulated by the FDA. It also requires that all nutrient content claims (for example, ‘high fiber’, ‘low fat’, etc.) and health claims meet FDA regulations. The current food labels that are seen on most food products today are a result of this law. The regulations contain specific criteria for size and necessary information of a label depending on package size and nutrient information.
The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), 2006, improved food labeling information for the millions of consumers who suffer from food allergies. It mandates clear labeling of foods containing major food allergens ; milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy. Labels must declare the allergen using plain language, either in the ingredient list or a separate list like, “Contains: wheat”. These ingredients must be listed if they are present in any amount, even in colors, flavors, spice blends, additives. Also, if seafood or nuts are used, the specific type must be listed. FALCPA does not apply to the unintentional presence of major food allergens resulting from “cross-contact” situations during manufacturing although food allergen advisory labels are encouraged if allergens are present where food is produced. Mislabeled foods are subject to recall and removal from the marketplace.
Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) 2011, signed into law by President Obama is seen as the most sweeping food system reform in more than 70 years. The goal is to ensure a safe U.S. food supply is safe largely through prevention Some improvements to food safety included in the law are; FDA mandated preventative controls including requiring food facilities to evaluate the hazards in their operations, implement and monitor effective measures to prevent contamination, and have a plan in place to take any corrective actions that are necessary and use of FDA established, science-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. This law also gives the FDA greater control over imported food products through tighter inspection requirements and increased certifications of food safety.
If you have questions on any of the food labeling laws, On The Menu can help. We assure the food labels, ingredient statements and allergen declarations we provide are compliant with food labeling laws. Please contact us for help.