Determining the RACC for a Nutrition Facts Label
In determining serving sizes for nutrition reporting, the FDA has established Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACC). A food’s reference amount or RACC can be found in the 21 CFR Part 101.12(b). Go to the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 and search “101.12” and go to section (b) to find the RACCs. Under section (b) are two tables; table 1 is for infant and toddler foods and table 2 is for the general population. The tables have three columns, each of which is explained below.
In the first column in the 21 CFR Part 101.12(b) tables are product categories, of which there are 150 categories. Most of the food categories are for foods in their ready-to-eat form. If a product in the form in which it is sold, is not among the food categories, then an appropriate RACC can be generated using guidelines in 21 CFR Part 101.12(c-f). Go to the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 and search “101.12” and find the guidelines in sections (c) through (f).
The second column in the tables is the reference amount, which represents the amount of food customarily consumed in one sitting. The reference amount is the basis for a serving size. In most of the product categories the reference amount is a specified gram weight, however, they are also defined in milliliters, cups and other household measurements. It’s best to follow RACCs as closely as possible, but it’s not necessary to manufacturer a product to match the reference weight. It’s recommended to report the nutrient info based on the serving size that is closest to the reference weight.
The final column is a label statement, which provides suggestions on how to “phrase” the serving size on the Nutrition Facts panel. The label statement is typically comprised of a household measurement followed by the gram weight in parenthesis. For example, “1 cookie (28g).” Again, the label statements in the RACC tables are suggestions and can be adapted to better fit a product. The label statement for bread is “_ piece(s) (_g)”; where it might be preferable to state “2 slices (50g)”. Refer to 21 CFR Part 101.9(b) for procedures on determining appropriate household measures
For answers to common questions regarding RACCs
The FDA answers some common questions on RACCs here: http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/labelingnutrition/ucm064904.htm#raccs. At On The Menu, we can help you determine an appropriate serving size for your food product and show you how to list it on a Nutrition Facts panel.