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Volume 13, Number 12 - December 2013

Happy Holidays from Food Label News! 'Tis the season to enjoy friends, family and co-workers. In between holiday festivities, review a comparison of important nutrition labeling nuances between U.S. and Mexico, and read the second installment of the series on package claims. This month we also showcase a reader Q&A on nutrition facts layout options.

It's this time of year that we wish our fellow food labelers well and thank you for your continued support of Food Consulting Company. It is our pleasure to be your virtual food label department and look forward to even more discussions with you in the Food Label Community on LinkedIn. Grab a glass of egg nog and join us!

In this issue you'll find:


"Thank you for the outstanding job you did. Your professionalism is impressive!"

– Carlos Ponz
American Rice

Nuances in Nutrition Labeling: U.S. vs. Mexico

Package Claims: U.S & Canada - Part 2 of 8
Nutrient Content Claims for U.S.

Reader Q&A: Nutrition Facts Layout Options

What's News in the Food Label Community


Karen C. Duester, President

Nuances in Nutrition Labeling:
U.S. vs. Mexico

Understanding how nutrition label requirements vary is key to creating compliant products for sale across the border. While it may be possible to create a unified U.S./Mexico label for some products, most often marketers prefer to have a separate, less cluttered label for each country.

Here are some highlights of the differences between nutrition label requirements in U.S. vs. Mexico:

There are several elements required on a U.S. Nutrition Facts that are not required for Mexico: Servings Per Container, Calories from Fat, Trans Fat, Cholesterol, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron. In addition, the % Daily Value column and the Daily Values (DV) footnote are not required in Mexico.

U.S. requires use of English, Mexico requires Spanish. An English/Spanish label is permissible in both countries.

In Mexico, nutrient values are generally reported per 100g or 100 mL basis, whereas in U.S. these values are reported per FDA Serving Size.

In Mexico, vitamins and minerals are generally listed only when 5% or more and the order for all nutrients can be slightly different.

In Mexico, Energy is declared as kJ/kcal, instead of Calories as in the U.S.

In U.S., Fiber is included in the Total Carbohydrate value, whereas it is not included in this value for Mexican labels.

See a side-by-side comparison of Nutrition Facts graphics for U.S. and Mexico, part of an article we prepared for Food Chemical News earlier this year.

What's News in the
Food Label Community

Landmark FDA action on trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils

USDA issues Final Rule to expand generic label approval

FDA Final Rules for restaurant & vending machine nutrition labeling... still "coming soon"

Calorie calculation for sugar alcohols and fiber

Manufacturing a "natural" product

Food grade packaging and testing requirements

Connect with other food labelers on LinkedIn

Reader Favorites

Combo U.S./Mexico Labels


Search answers to food label questions

Each country’s regulatory body establishes the reference amounts to be used in nutrition labeling. Because this is a country-specific process, reference amounts for nutrients vary around the world. See a quick, detailed overview of required and allowable nutrients for nutrition labeling and their established reference amounts in U.S., Canada, Mexico, and EU.

Package Claims: U.S. and Canada - Part 2 of 8
Nutrient Content Claims for U.S.

This month's installment in our 8-part series overviews U.S. nutrient content claims. This series is designed to help food labelers become familiar with what claims and label statements are allowable and how to position a product’s nutritional attributes to achieve marketing objectives.

U.S. nutrient content claims describe directly or by implication the level of a nutrient or dietary substance in a serving. Consult the guide for information about the differences between absolute, relative, and implied nutrient content claims and how they differ from statements of fact. Access one of our most useful sections with examples and explanations for how to create allowable marketing messages by using statements of fact instead of defined nutrient content claims.

View/print Part 2 of the series.

If you missed Part 1 of the series you can view and download it now. The print-ready pages form all parts of the series will add up the complete regulatory guide for U.S. and Canadian package claims.

Reader Q&A

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


Can I choose to use either a tabular/horizontal or linear Nutrition Facts panel instead of the standard panel due to space availability on a particular product? Does FDA have any terms or conditions for using this?
L.S., California, Private-label Foods


Yes. FDA allows for flexibility in presentation of the Nutrition Facts based on package size. If the standard/vertical layout does not fit and/or the package has less than 40 square inches of total space available for labeling, there is a hierarchy of options you may consider. Read more.

What matters in food labeling

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