5 Basic Label Requirements
1. Identity of Food in Package Form
- The principal display panel of a label for a food in package form shall bear as one of its principal features a statement of the identity of the commodity by its common or usual name.
- Where a food is marketed in various forms (grated, sliced, diced, etc.) the particular form shall be considered as part of the identity statement.
- The statement of identity shall be present in bold type on the principal display panel and shall be in a size reasonably related to the most prominent printed matter.
2. Name of Manufacturer, Packer or Distributor
- In the case of a corporation, only the actual corporate name, and this may be preceded or followed by the name of the particular division involved.
- In the case of an individual, partnership or association, the name under which the business is conducted shall be used.
- When the food is not manufactured by the person whose name appears on the label, a qualifying phrase such as “Manufactured for _________”, “Distributed by ________”, or other expression of facts, shall appear with the name.
3. Place of Business
The place of business shall include the street address, city, State and ZIP code. However, the street address may be omitted if it is shown in a current city or telephone directory.
4. Ingredient Declaration
- The ingredients shall be listed by their common or usual name in descending order of predominance by weight, on a single panel of the label.
- The name of the ingredient shall be a specific name and not a collective name.
- If the ingredient is a designated spice, flavoring or natural color, it need only be stated as spices, artificial color or artificial flavor. Colorings subject to certification (FD&C) must be listed by their specific name, i.e. FD&C Yellow #5.
- If an ingredient used in the product conforms to a standard of identity or is a multi-ingredient product, its ingredients are required to be listed on the label.
- When blends of fats and/or oils are used, the common or usual name of each fat or oil used must be listed in parenthesis following the term vegetable shortening, animal fat or marine oil.
- If an individual fat and/or oil ingredient is used, not a blend, the common name of that product must be listed in the correct order of predominance.
- No abbreviations of an ingredient’s common or usual name are permitted, unless explicitly provided for in the statutes.
- Water used in fabricated foods shall be declared on the label in its order of predominance.
5. Net Quantity of Contents
The principal display panel of a label for a food in packaged form shall bear a declaration of net quantity of contents.
- The declaration shall be expressed in terms of avoirdupois pound and ounce, volume, and/or numerical count.
- The declaration shall appear as a distinct item within the lower 30 percent of the principal display panel. The declaration shall be printed in boldface print or type in letters and numbers in a size in relationship to the total square inches of the principal display panel.
The declaration of net quantity of contents shall be expressed in the following terms:
|Area of PDP||Minimum Type Size|
|5 sq. inches or less||1/16 inch (1.6 mm/6 point)|
|> 5 sq. inches, but < 25 sq. inches||1/8 inch (3.2mm/14 point)|
|> 25 sq. inches, but < 100 sq. inches||3/16 inch (4.8mm/20 point)|
A separate statement of the net quantity of contents in terms of the metric system is required to appear on the principal display panel as part of the required declaration, i.e. NET WT 9 OZ (255g) or 9 FL OZ (266 ml)
- Weight (one pound, but less than four pounds) expressed in ounces and followed by the largest whole unit in parenthesis, i.e. NET WT. 24 OZ (1 LB 8 OZ).
- Fluid measure (one pint, but less than one gallon) expressed in fluid ounces and followed by the largest whole unit in parenthesis, i.e. 20 FL OZ (1 PT 4 OZ).
FDA General Labeling Web Site
There are two ways to label packages and containers:
- Place all required label statements on the front label panel (the principal display panel or PDP), or,
- Place certain specified label statements on the principal display panel and other labeling on the information panel (the label panel immediately to the right of the principal display panel, as seen by the consumer facing the product).