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Volume 13, Number 2 - February 2012

Hello from Food Label News. In this issue we cover the proposal to streamline the meat and poultry products inspection regulations and the impact it would have on food labelers. You’ll also find our continuing series on examples of Nutrition Facts Labels – this time for single serve packages. As your virtual food labeling department, we’re here to support you and we look forward to hearing your feedback.

In this issue you'll find:


"You guys truly care. You deliver what you promise, when you promise it. If someone out there is still trying to decide, the search is over."

– Kawal Oberoi, 
Dishaka Gourmet Imports

Modernizing USDA’s Food Label Approval: The Meat of the Matter

Examples of Nutrition Facts Labels:
Part 5 of 10

Reader Q&A: Using 4-4-9 for Calorie Calcs

Helpful links to keep you current


Karen C. Duester, President

Modernizing USDA’s Food Label Approval: The Meat of the Matter

In an effort to modernize and streamline government, the idea of a wide-reaching generic label approval process for USDA-regulated food is upon us. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the branch of USDA that is charged with label approval for products regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act. FSIS's role is to safeguard consumers so that products distributed to them are safe, wholesome, not adulterated, and properly marked, labeled and packaged.

FSIS began the process of streamlining label approvals over 20 years ago. In 1992, the idea of generically approving all labels was floated in an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM). The outcome of that rulemaking activity was the 1995 final rule in which generic label approval was allowed for a broad set of circumstances.

Now an even more expansive set of circumstances for generic label approval sits before us. FSIS is accepting comments on a new proposed rule through the end of the day today, February 3, 2012. In this proposal, all labels for meat and poultry products would be generically approved except for product labels that fall into four main categories:


Claims and special statements to appear on labels. Examples include claims related to nutrient content, health, organic, natural, animal production methods (e.g., grass-fed, cage-free, naturally-raised), and those undefined by regulation (e.g., gluten-free).


Labels for temporary approval. An example is an existing label for pepperoni pizza that has a slight deviation in ingredient order due to a minor formulation change.


Labels for products produced under religious exemption. For example, a label for chicken produced under Buddhist exemption.


Labels for products to be exported with labeling deviations. For example, a label for "beef intestines" produced for export to China where the product is identified as "beef casings."

Keeping You Current

FDA is urged to require  sodium reduction in food  supply

FDA seeking comments on experimental study for label formats

Nielsen poll on food label  confusion

Proposed rule to make export application/certification process electronic

CFIA proposes amendments to wine labels in Canada

News report says FSIS/FDA merger might be coming

Join Food Label Community
for a discussion of the news

Reader Favorites

Is my product regulated by USDA or FDA?

"Natural" on FDA-regulated & USDA-regulated foods

The significant expansion of generic label approvals is a shift for the food industry who has long appreciated the FSIS "stamp of approval" on their labels and the security it provided. Expanded generic label approvals signals the need for training so that food labelers understand all nuances of the regulations to mitigate risk and ensure 100% compliant labels.

Examples of Nutrition Facts Labels: Part 5 of 10

Requirements for Nutrition Facts in the U.S. vary based on several factors. This series continues with a discussion of creating a Nutrition Facts Label for a single serve package.

Because single serve packages are typically small, most single serve packages qualify to use a shortened Daily Values footnote, approved abbreviations, and the "Not a significant source" statement as discussed earlier in the series (see Part 3 of 10). In addition, single serve packages can always omit two elements that are generally required on other Nutrition Facts Labels: (1) Servings Per Container line, and (2) metric unit for Serving Size, provided it is listed on the front of package in the Net Contents statement.

Take a quick look at a helpful how-to example of a Nutrition Facts Label for a single serve package and see examples of Nutrition Facts Labels for other scenarios.

Reader Q&A

Find answers to our readers' questions or send us your question for an upcoming issue.


A customer of ours used the 4-4-9 calculation to validate calories on our Nutrition Facts and got a different value than what we show. How do I explain the difference? 
L.B., Indiana, Chocolate Manufacturer


The 4-4-9 method is just one of five methods FDA allows for calorie labeling on Nutrition Facts. This method is the least accurate of the five because it uses "average factors" – 4 calories per gram for carbohydrate, 4 calories per gram for protein, and 9 calories per gram for fat. These "average factors" generally overstate calories because specific ingredients often contain fewer calories than the average factor would indicate. For example, dextrose (a carbohydrate) contains 3.4 calories per gram, not 4 calories per gram as the 4-4-9 method would indicate. Read more.

At Your Service

Food Consulting Company, founded in 1993, provides nutrition analysis, food labeling and regulatory support to ensure 100% compliance with FDA regulations. With well over 1,500 clients worldwide, we’re pleased to provide information to address your food labeling needs.

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