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Volume 12, Number 10 - October 2011

Hello from Food Label News. It’s big news that the industry has provided specific guidance for front-of-pack food labels. Amidst the controversy, we highlight the new initiative in this issue and invite your perspective in our Food Label Community. We also feature a one-page comparison between U.S. and Canadian food labels. Happy reading.

In this issue you'll find:


"Your input was insightful, realistic and incredibly valuable. Thank you!"

– Amanda Berhaupt-Glickstein, MS, RD, 
Doctoral Student, Rutgers University

Front-of-Pack: A Billboard for Benefits

U.S. & Canada Nutrition Facts Example:
Side-by-side Comparison

Reader Q&A: Alcohol in Foods

Helpful links to keep you current


Karen C. Duester, President

Front-of-Pack: A Billboard for Benefits

Late last month the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announced Facts Up Front, originally introduced as Nutrition Keys, a voluntary Front-of-Pack (FOP) nutrition labeling system designed to help consumers make smart food choices while shopping. Food companies may apply to participate in this initiative as the industry awaits the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Phase 2 report which will offer recommendations for FDA to develop standardized FOP systems.

Facts Up Front features information about both “nutrients to limit”: calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar, as well as “nutrients to encourage”: potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and iron.

“Nutrients to limit” – When Facts Up Front are shown, the four nutrient facts on the left must be  consistently presented together. On small food packages when space is limited, a food company has the option to display only calories.

“Nutrients to encourage” – Food companies have the option to include up to two nutrients to encourage; these nutrients can only be shown when the product meets the FDA requirement for a “good source” claim (more than 10% of the Daily Value per serving).

Read more on the Facts Up Front website.

Keeping You Current

Sodium reduction: FDA & FSIS seeking comments

CFIA guidelines on natural, naturally raised, feed, antibiotic and hormone claims

FDA's 2012-2016 strategic plan includes food labeling initiatives

News story: EU regulators believe some US labels use structure/function claims not supported by science

New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) notifications: federal register notice extends draft guidance comment period

Join Food Label Community
for a discussion of the news

Reader Favorites

One-pager on Required Food Label Components

Proactive or over-zealous? A June 2011 perspective piece in New England Journal of Medicine called the GMA/FMI initiative an “abuse of trust” by the food industry. The article postured that industry should have waited for the IOM report to be finalized and FDA to develop a consistent system. Their perspective is that industry took the initiative prematurely, resulting in misleading and potentially inconsistent direction for food labelers and added confusion for consumers. Join the discussion in the Food Label Community on LinkedIn.

U.S. & Canada Nutrition Facts Example:
Side-by-side Comparison

When it comes to creating the nutrition facts graphic for a product sold in both U.S. and Canada, one size does not fit all. U.S. and Canadian regulations require different formatting and have several other key differences. For example, some elements such as “Servings Per Container” and the “Daily Values” footnote are required on U.S. labels only. While bilingual (English/French) is an obvious Canadian requirement, there are several other country-specific requirements that often result in different values for the same formulation. It is not possible to create a single label that will satisfy both U.S. and Canadian regulations.

See a one-page side-by-side comparison for the similarities and differences.

Reader Q&A

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


How much alcohol can be used in an FDA-regulated food product, and how is it  regulated?
K.M., Washington, Established Food Company


Ethyl alcohol is generally recognized as safe in foods but only for specific uses. 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.

We value our relationships and are working to stay connected. To build your network, we invite you to connect with us via LinkedIn and while you’re there, join the Food Label Community.

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