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Volume 13, Number 5 - May 2012

Hello from Food Label News. 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. Enjoy!

In this issue you'll find:


"I want to thank you for the monthly newsletter. It is rare that I don't find information that I need to know. Your newsletter has become an essential part of my continuing education in the world of regulatory compliance."

Penny Hennessy, 
Rich-SeaPak Corp.

The Role of Food Labels for Food Safety

Examples of Nutrition Facts Labels:
Part 8 of 10

Reader Q&A: Are Restated Nutrition Facts Nutrient Content Claims?

Food Label News: Reader Favorites


Karen C. Duester, President

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.

Ensure consistent 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".

Source identical 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.

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Reader Q&A


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,
Nutrition Strategist

A. 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. Read more.

See Reader Q&A archive for an additional 50+ questions.

Send us your question 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 Labels: Part 8 of 10

Requirements for Nutrition Facts in the U.S. vary based on several factors. This series continues with aggregate Nutrition Facts labels, used for kits and variety packs.

Aggregate Nutrition 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.

View the 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

Food Label News, now in its 12th year, is a monthly e-newsletter reaching nearly 7,000 subscribers around the world. This publication covers news and insights about food labels for manufacturers, distributors, product developers, suppliers, QA professionals, government officials, and academia. We welcome your colleagues to subscribe:

Reader Favorites: Key differences in ingredient labeling for U.S. and Canada; article, chart

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