October 2018

Reader Q+A

I’m starting a food business. What information do I need to have on my label to sell my product in stores?

To sell a packaged product regulated by FDA at retail, the product label must contain five components:
1) statement of identity
2) statement of net content
3) Nutrition Facts label
4) ingredient statement with allergen labeling compliance
5) name and address of manufacturer, packer or distributor 

USDA has four additional requirements for retail:
1) handling statement
2) USDA inspection legend
3) plant establishment number
4) safe handling instructions (when required)

Both FDA and USDA have specific requirements for where each component must be placed, minimum type size requirements, rounding rules, disclosure requirements, etc. 

While it’s neither an FDA nor USDA regulatory requirement, retailers generally require packaged food products to also have a Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode. To get a UPC barcode, you will need to become a member of GS1 US Partner Connections (previously Uniform Code Council). Once registered, they will send you a company prefix for use in creating your own UPC barcodes.

We can help you with everything you need through our Full Label Compliance service. If you prefer to go it alone, you can consult the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations for FDA’s 21 CFR rules and USDA’s 9 CFR rules.