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Volume 13, Number 3 - March 2012

Happy March from Food Label News. In this issue you’ll read about how and when you can create a single bilingual label that will satisfy regulations in both Mexico and the U.S. We also cover Nutrition Facts labels in our continuing series and this month’s Reader Q&A. Happy reading.

In this issue you'll find:


"Thanks. Everything is top notch. You did a superb job."

– Mike Carpenter, 
DM Snacks Corp. N.A.

Cross the border with bilingual labels?
Mexico: Yes - Canada: No

Examples of Nutrition Facts Labels:
Part 6 of 10

Reader Q&A: Uneven-sized pieces

Helpful links to keep you current


Karen C. Duester, President

Cross the border with bilingual labels?
Mexico: Yes - Canada: No

Can a single label satisfy the regulations of our friends in the north and south? No and yes. It is not possible to create a single label that satisfies regulations in U.S. and Canada, however it is possible to create a bilingual label for U.S. and Mexico.

As of January 1, 2011, Mexico put forth new labeling regulations for pre-packaged foods and non-alcoholic beverages. Here's a starting list of additional requirements to ensure that a U.S. label will comply with the regulations of both countries:

Bilingual – English/Spanish for all names, claims and nutrition information

Net weight / Cont. Net. – must include metric units

Nutrition Facts – a word of caution here: some of the Daily Values are different (for example, Mexico uses a 30g reference value for fiber), so it is not always possible to use the same bilingual Nutrition Facts on both sides of the border

Quantitative ingredient labeling – percentage of the ingredient must be declared when the ingredient is either emphasized on the label through words and images OR if it is essential to the identity of the product

Importer information: Name, Ministry of Finance Tax ID number – this can also be added to the label after the product has crossed the border but before it is sold

Country of Origin, i.e., "Made in USA"

Lot identification - permanent lot numbers are required for traceability

Date code format – DDMMYYYY

There are a number of other considerations and nuances to take into account when exporting a product to Mexico. Labelers are cautioned to stay up to date on regulations so all products can pass swiftly through the U.S. / Mexico border.

Keeping You Current

FDA urged to require sodium cuts in food supply

FDA offers support for Facts Up Front (requires LinkedIn registration)

FTC's ongoing crackdown on bogus health claims

CDC Study on blood levels of trans fatty acids

US & EU agree to partner on  organic trade

GE labeling in Vermont

USDA improvements for school meals coming

Join Food Label Community for a discussion of the news

Reader Favorites

Quick Food Label Comparisons:  US vs. Canada

Using 4-4-9 for Calorie Calculations

Even though the regulations are similar and in most cases it is possible to create one label, depending on the size of the business opportunity, many marketers prefer to have a separate label for each country. This makes for cleaner labels in both markets.

Examples of Nutrition Facts Labels: Part 6 of 10

Requirements for Nutrition Facts in the U.S. vary based on several factors. This series continues with a discussion of the simplified format, optional when eight or more nutrients have a 0 value.

For a simplified format Nutrition Facts, there are two scenarios that require the “Not a significant source” statement: 1) when voluntary nutrients are declared; or 2) when claims are made on the label or in labeling.

View the quick reference guide for helpful how-to examples of Nutrition Facts Labels including both scenarios for the simplified format.

Reader Q&A

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


I am in a start-up candy business and plan to cut the candy bar into pieces on a tray. How exact does the weight need to be per piece given that I may cut the bar inaccurately and the nuts or chocolate may be unevenly distributed? 
A.V., Indiana, Start-up Food Company


For products with a variable weight per piece such as your candy bar, pickles, shrimp, or scallops, the Serving Size used for Nutrition Facts labeling is the amount in ounces rounded to the nearest half-ounce that most closely approximates FDA's Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC), along with a visual unit of measure. 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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