Volume 13, Number 5 - May
Hello from Food
Thank you to our readers for accolades about Food Label News
and your consistent appreciation of our Reader Q&A. In this
issue, you'll find the Reader Q&A in a featured position.
This month we also cover the importance of food labels for
food safety and continue our overview of Nutrition Facts
requirements. We look forward to your continued comments.
The Role of Food Labels for Food Safety
How do food manufacturers
ensure that products are safe? For consumers who have
allergies and other health concerns, accurate food labels
and consistent manufacturing processes are crucial. Here are
some simple guidelines.
Accurate food labels.
Many consumers look for nutrient and health-related claims
on packages, particularly when they have known allergies.
Food labelers are required by law to identify the "Big 8"
allergens for consumers: milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, wheat,
soybean, fish, and shellfish. These ingredients must be
listed in plain English either in the Ingredient Statement
or a separate "Contains" statement immediately after or
adjacent to the Ingredient Statement.
manufacturing practices, no cross-contamination.
Reducing the variability in manufacturing practices is
necessary to ensure that food is safely produced. Even when
using multiple manufacturing facilities there must be
standardized ingredients, formulas, and processes with
insurance that food is not inadvertently contaminated. Even
trace amounts of unintended ingredients can cause allergic
reactions or other food sensitivities. Manufacturers are on
their own to warn consumers about potential
cross-contamination with cautionary labeling such as "made
in the same facility as" or "made on the same equipment as".
ingredients across suppliers and validate their consistency
over time. Consistency and predictability in ingredients
helps reduce risk, regardless of the source of supply.
Routine testing of ingredients from different suppliers and
ongoing batch sampling can ensure quality, consistency, and
presence of allergens.
Beware of natural
flavorings and spices. It is important to verify the
exact nature of flavors and spices to ensure that they do
not contain allergenic ingredients that need to be
declared on the label.
From known allergens and
potential cross-contamination to nutrient content and other
health-related claims, accurate food labels help consumers
make smart and safe food choices.
Food Label Community on
• Nutrient content
• Food additives and food
Food Label Community to stay informed.
Regarding FDA and
nutrient content claims, is it true that
FDA sees any restatement of the
Nutrition Facts on the front-of-pack as
a nutrient content claim? If so, can you
direct me to the ruling?
− T.D., California,
Yes, that is
correct. If you make a statement of fact such
as "0g trans fat per serving" on the
front-of-pack, this is enforced as a
nutrient content claim and you are
required to include the disclosure
statement when your product exceeds
threshold levels of total fat, saturated
fat, cholesterol and sodium.
Reader Q&A archive
for an additional 50+ questions.
for an upcoming issue.
Consumers look for
nutrient content claims and product attributes such as low
fat, low sodium, gluten-free, vegetarian, and organic when
making their food selections. Inclusion is always voluntary
and food labelers must carefully understand all nuances for
their packages to be in compliance.
Examples of Nutrition Facts
Part 8 of 10
Nutrition Facts in the U.S. vary based on several
factors. This series continues with
aggregate Nutrition Facts labels, used for kits and
Facts are encouraged, although they are always
optional. Aggregate labels show nutrient values for
all components in the pack. For kits, the composite
values are shown first and the individual kit
components follow. For variety packs (for example, a
popcorn tin with three flavors) the nutrient values
for each variety are shown separately.
quick reference guide for helpful how-to examples of Nutrition Facts Labels including an aggregate panel for a pizza kit.
What matters in food labeling
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