When you are walking down the supermarkets aisles, you can count on people blocking traffic as they engross themselves in food labels. Everyone from nutritionists to grandmothers worry about what is in our food. The knowledge is right there on the product if we are just willing to look.
What is a food label?
A food label is the breakdown of a product’s nutritional contents required by federal law. The information is based on a 2,000 calorie diet and manufacturers must break down the ingredients in a scientific manner. Some companies have a scientist on hand to break down calories, vitamins, and fat grams. This is particularly true for those fried and coated. Other companies type their ingredients into a national database that does the reporting for the manufacturer. The FDA is proposing updated label to include more information based on serving sizes impact skyrocketing obesity and chronic ailments.
The role of the FDA
It is important to note that the FDA does not certify labels; they merely establish the standards and investigate any fraudulent health claims (i.e. no fat, when actually loaded with it). Be aware that making proclamations you cannot back up will destroy your reputation. In 1990, The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) authorized the FDA to require food product manufacturers to add nutrition labeling on foods. Therefore, as mentioned above, added sugars must be clearly labeled as well as declaring calories from fat. Other additions include increasing the size of what is actually consumed rather than they should consume. Soda bottles show amounts for half the bottle when it is rare for consumers not to drink the entire content. Likewise, new labels will feature servings rather than serving size. While there are no size requirements for the actual label, labels must now specific the size of the actual nutritional values of what will be inside our bodies.
Must my product have a food label?
It may appear that quite a bit of time and effort go into food labels, but for some, labels are optional. According to the FDA, “Businesses that sell $50,000 or less worth of food or $500,000 or less worth of food and non-food combined are generally exempt. Businesses with fewer than 10 full-time employees and less than 10,000 units sold annually are also exempt.” To be precise, “The nutrition labeling exemptions for low-volume products found in 21 CFR 101.9(j)(18) and 21 CFR 101.36(h)(2) apply if the person claiming the exemption employs fewer than an average of 100 full-time equivalent employees and fewer than 100,000 units of that product are sold in the United States in a 12-month period. For these exemptions, a notice must be filed annually with FDA.”
In short, while it may not be a requirement for low food sale volume, the FDA wants to keep tabs. This explains why most food items in the grocery store have nutritional labels while those from a farmer’s market usually only list ingredients (mostly to avoid allergic reactions). Visit www.fda.gov for the specifications of your intended label. Such as fonts, font size, and where the print can be condensed.
Help for the small business owner
If you are a growing business, this may seem overwhelming. Take heart, there are many ways to label a food product. Consider investing in a label printer. It is a godsend for those starting out or offering an exclusive creation. An additional worthy investment is food labeling software. Consider investing in a Kiaro! Label printer; it’s a godsend for those starting out or offering an exclusive creation.ReciPal’s food labeling software.
Your clients will easily be able to find your nutritional values. If you plan to sell to grocery like Whole Foods or plan to make claims, such as sugar-free, fat-free or a medicinal claim, you will need to have a nutritional label. The FDA is quite serious about labeling and to preserve your reputation, you must follow guidelines that are set. Even if you are exempt from mandatory food labels, you will earn your patrons trust with the proper labels. It is always better to provide any information a patron may ask in advance to solidify your reputation as an honest company.