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Volume 11, Number 10 - October 2010

Hello from Food Label News. The kids are back to school and fall is in the air. As we approach our 10 year anniversary (next month) of bringing you Food Label News, we're pleased to let you know that we've gathered over 6,000 subscribers – members of our Food Label Community. We invite you to connect with us via LinkedIn. We look forward to broadening our circle and yours!

In this issue you'll find:

Karen C. Duester, President


"You are always terrific and a great benefit to us with your knowledge, feedback, expertise, and kindness ... can we hire you?"

– Scott Hadsall, 
ESHA Research



Detained at the Border? How to Manage Issues with Customs

Sailing through U.S. and Canadian customs is easy, until it's not. As we reported in the August issue of Food Label News, the U.S. and Canada have different food labeling requirements and it is not possible to have a food label that satisfies the regulations in both countries.

The fact is imported products that must pass through customs are subject to more scrutiny than those that are domestically produced. In addition to customs agents at the border, there are also FDA (for U.S.) or CFIA (for Canada) officials who are reviewing the labels before the product is allowed entry into the country.

So what do you do if your shipment is detained at the border?

Consider the following approaches:

  1. Negotiate a one-time entry of the current product before the required label change

  2. Consider over-stickering the label to cover problematic areas and satisfy requirements

  3. For issues involving ingredients or formulation, your product development expert may be able to support compliance with federal standards

Keeping You Current

FDA warns about violative antioxidant claims on Lipton and Canada Dry green tea beverages

Corn Refiners Association petitions FDA to allow "corn sugar" as alternate name to high fructose corn syrup

FDA holds public hearing on genetically-modified salmon

News story reports CFIA found many label claims are inaccurate

From the Archive

Six Q&A's about Nutrition Facts labels: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Search the archive here

Such negotiation is tricky but can be managed artfully. You may want to consider a partner, skilled in food labeling for both U.S. and Canada who can conduct the negotiations on your behalf and achieve the most positive outcome.

5 Must-Haves for FDA Food Labels:
Instructional Series Part 3 of 5

In the last two months, we have profiled two of the five required components for every FDA regulated food label: Product Identity and Net Contents Statement. This month's installment overviews the third required component: the Nutrition Facts label.

Nutrition Facts Label

This important section of the food label provides consumers with details about the nutritional composition of the product.

  • Key elements – serving size, servings per container, calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Depending on the product's nutritional composition and labeling claims, additional nutrients may be required or voluntarily included.

  • Placement – The Nutrition Facts label is placed on the Information Panel, the first panel to the right of the Principle Display Panel (PDP or Front Panel).

  • Style – Use one of four allowable styles for displaying your Nutrition Facts label based on package dimensions: standard (vertical), split (side-by-side), tabular (horizontal), linear (paragraph).

  • Format – Use one of two allowable formats for displaying your Nutrition Facts label based on the number of nutrients that are present in significant amounts: full format (21 CFR 101.9(c) rules), simplified format (21 CFR 101.9(f) rule).

The Nutrition Facts label is not the place for your designer to exercise creative talent! There are very specific rules for color, font, size, kerning, leading, weight of lines, and outlines for Nutrition Facts labels. Use print-ready Nutrition Facts labels we provide, or consult the Code of Federal Regulations for graphic specifications.

Reader Q&A

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


How many milligrams of Vitamin C can I add to my beverage without having to declare "ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)" under the beverage's ingredient listing?
I.L., Beverage Manufacturer, New York


If ascorbic acid is added to the beverage, it must be listed in the ingredient statement. Furthermore, if the function of the ascorbic acid is as a preservative, this must also be disclosed in the ingredient statement (i.e. "ascorbic acid to preserve freshness" or something equally descriptive). 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 1,000 clients worldwide, we’re pleased to provide information to address your food labeling needs.

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