Food, functional food and beverage products sold in the US are subject to FDA labeling regulations found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). In addition to the requirements that labels include a statement of identity; net quantity of contents statement, ingredient list and signature line, food labels must also include a Nutrition Facts Box and allergen statement. Everyone is familiar with food and beverage labels but not everyone really knows what’s required.
Nutrition Facts Box
The contents of the Nutrition Facts Box must comply with thresholds of declaration and rounding rules outlined in 21 CFR 101.9. FDA regulations allow for the use of calculated values to declare the levels of calories, fat, trans fat, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, cholesterol and other nutrients. Food products that meet specific guidelines may be labeled with nutrient content claims and certain health claims (See list of allowable health claims below).
Food products containing meat or poultry are regulated by the USDA. While the labeling regulations for these products mirror the requirements for foods regulated by FDA, USDA labels must be submitted to the USDA Food Safety and Information Service for review prior to use. Organic labeling is also administered by the USDA and subject to prior certification.
Allowable Health Claims
§ 101.72 – Health claims: calcium, Vitamin D and osteoporosis.
§ 101.73 – Health claims: dietary lipids and cancer.
§ 101.74 – Health claims: sodium and hypertension.
§ 101.75 – Health claims: dietary saturated fat and cholesterol and risk of coronary heart disease.
§ 101.76 – Health claims: fiber-containing grain products, fruits, and vegetables and cancer.
§ 101.77 – Health claims: fruits, vegetables, and grain products that contain fiber, particularly soluble fiber, and risk of coronary heart disease.
§ 101.78 – Health claims: fruits and vegetables and cancer.
§ 101.79 – Health claims: Folate and neural tube defects.
§ 101.80 – Health claims: dietary noncariogenic carbohydrate sweeteners and dental caries.
§ 101.81 – Health claims: Soluble fiber from certain foods and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
§ 101.82 – Health claims: Soy protein and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
§ 101.83 – Health claims: plant sterol/stanol esters and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).