Getting a product from concept to grocery store shelf requires the navigation of many rules and regulations. Retail food packaging alone has six big labeling requirements laid out by four different acts. It’s enough to make your head spin. While there are many regulations to adhere to, these six food packaging requirements aren’t to be missed.
- Statement of Identity
- Name and Place of Business of Manufacturer, Packer, or Distributor
- Net Quantity of Contents
- Nutrition Labeling
- Ingredient Statement
- Allergen Declaration
The statement of identity is the common or usual name for your food product as defined by law or regulation. You can determine your proper statement of identity for your product in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, parts 102 and 130-169. If your food is unique and has not been identified, you can give it a name that accurately and appropriately describes it.
The name and place of business of manufacturer, packer, or distributor shall include the street address, city, state, and zip code. If the street address is readily accessible, widely published, and publicly available it can be omitted. Including a phone number and website is optional.
The net quantity of contents is the weight or fluid measurement of food as it’s sold in its retail package. The net quantity must be shown both in U.S. customary system (pounds, ounces, fluid ounces) and metric terms (grams, kilograms, milliliters, liters). If your product exceeds one pound, you must state the weight in both pounds and ounces. For example, if your product weighs 20 ounces, you must state it as “Net Wt 1 lb 4 oz.” The metric term is placed in parentheses following the U.S. customary term. In addition, you must include “Net Wt” or “Net” (for fluid measurements) prior to the measurement. For example, “Net Wt 1 lb 4 oz (567 g)” and “Net 8 fl oz (237 mL).”
Nutrition labeling is displayed in the form of a Nutrition Facts panel (NFP). An NFP has three components: serving size, nutrient values, and a footnote. Depending on your product’s packaging and nutritional makeup, there are several options available. The most common FDA-approved label is a standard Nutrition Facts panel, which is a vertical panel containing all three components. Other formats include a tabular, dual declaration, aggregate, simplified, and shortened panels. Some food manufacturers are exempt from nutrition labeling under the small business exemption amendment.
An ingredient statement is a listing of all ingredients used to fabricate a food. The ingredient must be listed as a common or usual name. The ingredients must be listed in descending order of predominance by weight (from greatest to smallest). Multi-component ingredients must list ingredients in parenthesis. For example, if your product uses margarine, you must list in parenthesis all ingredients in the margarine. Special rules apply to spices, flavorings, and colorings.
An allergen declaration requires the identification of eight allergens; wheat, milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, crustacean fish, with a ninth allergy, sesame, which can be identified now but will be mandatory on January 1, 2023. Allergens can be listed in the ingredient statement or in a separate declaration statement. Tree nuts, fish, and crustacean fish must be listed by type. Some examples include Tree Nut (Pecan), Fish (Tuna), Crustacean Fish (Shrimp).
At On The Menu, we can help you with nutrition labeling, ingredient statements, and allergen identification. We provide FDA-compliant work and can help you navigate confusing and difficult regulations.