Basic Labeling Guidelines
The State of Utah through the Utah Code Annotated (UCA) has adopted the regulations promulgated under the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act as set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). In addition, with the passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) of 1990, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced new rules and regulations which have completely overhauled the science of designing labels, especially the use, format, and design of the Nutrition statement.
The following information is required by law to be on a food label before the product is offered for sale:
- Statement of Identity (Common or usual name of product). (21 CFR 101.3)
- The net quantity statement. (21 CFR 101.105)
- An ingredient statement (unless it is a single ingredient product). (21 CFR 101.4)
- The name and address (street address, city, state, and zip code) of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor. If the name and address of the business is listed in a local telephone directory, the street address may be omitted from the label. (21 CFR 101.5)
- Nutrition Statement: Most products must also have a Nutrition Facts statement following the FDA approved format. (21 CFR 101.9)
- The product name
must appear on the principal display panel (PDP = the portion of the
label expected to be displayed when the product is offered for sale.)
It must be prominent and in bold type and be an appropriate descriptive
name that is not misleading. It should be printed generally parallel
to the base of the package and at least 1/2 the size of the largest
print on the label.
- The net quantity
statement must be appropriate for the type of product. Generally,
products that are solid, semi-solid, viscous, or a mixture of liquid
and solid, are labeled by net weight (unless trade custom allows them
to be labeled by count.) Liquids are generally labeled in fluid volume.
Some products are required to be labeled by dry volume, length, area,
etc. Any net content statement that does not permit price and quantity
comparison is forbidden.
The net quantity is to be stated as a definite amount - do not use qualifying statements such as: "when packed," "approximately," "minimum," or words of similar import. Nor shall any unit of weight or measure be qualified with terms that tend to exaggerate the amount of the commodity, such as: "jumbo," "giant," "full," etc. On the average the quantity of the commodity in the package must at least equal or exceed the labeled quantity with no unreasonable shortages in any package even when overages in other packages compensate for such shortage.
The net quantity statement must appear in the bottom 1/3 of the PDP label in the largest whole units of both the US System of Measures and the metric equivalent. This means the net weight will show the total number of ounces if product net weight is less than one pound, or show pounds and ounces if the net weight is one pound or more. Either US or metric quantity may be printed first, the equivalent quantity following in parenthesis. Do not use periods behind abbreviations or "s" to indicate plurals. Metric abbreviations must be printed in lower case letters, except you may use either "l" or "L" to indicate "liter" and "ml" or "mL" for milliliter.
The print size required for the net quantity statement is based on the area of the principal display panel (PDP) of the package itself, not on the size of the label. Print size is based on the height of the smallest letter used, lower case letter "o", unless only upper case letters are used. The statement must be prominent, conspicuous and easy to read. An area equal to the height of the required lettering above and below the quantity statement must be left free of other print.
Area of Principal Display Panel Type Size Required 5 square inches or less Not less than 1/16 inch More than 5, but not more than 25 sq. in. Not less than 1/8 inch More than 25, but not more than 100 sq. in. Not less than 3/16 inch More than 100, but not more than 400 sq. in. Not less than 1/4 inch Over 400 square inches Not less than 1/2 inch
The next three items may be on the PDP or on the information panel (IP = the portion of the package immediately to the right of the PDP). Nonessential, intervening print and/or art work are not permitted between the required labeling items (e.g., the UPC bar code is not required labeling). The smallest print size allowed for this information is 1/16 inch, again based on the lower case letter "o" when both upper and lower case letters are used.
- All ingredients
must be listed by common or usual name in descending order
of predominance by weight (from heaviest to lightest). Any
ingredient which itself contains two or more ingredients:
- shall declare the common or usual name of the ingredient followed by a parenthetical listing of all ingredients contained therein in descending order of predominance;
- or by incorporating into the statement of ingredients in descending order of predominance in the finished food, the common or usual name of every component of the ingredient without listing the ingredient itself. (Use only one of these formats per label please.)
- The name and
address (street address, city, state - or country, if outside the
United States, and zip code - or mailing code used in countries other
than the United States) of the manufacturer packer, or distributor.
If the business name and street address are found in a local telephone
directory, the street address may be omitted. Unless the name given
is the actual manufacturer, accompany it with "manufactured for" or
"distributed by" to show the relationship to the product.
- Nutrition Statement:
FDA requires a Nutrition Statement on almost all food offered for
sale. The statement must follow the approved FDA format. Some foods
categories are exempt from the nutrition statement:
- foods produced by small businesses
- foods served in restaurants and/or sold ready for immediate consumption
- certain foods sold directly to consumers from the location where they are prepared (delis and bakeries);
- foods that provide no significant nutrition (plain, unsweetened coffee; most single ingredient spices, etc.)
NOTE: For more detailed information on labeling requirements, look here.