As we wrap up the summer with National Food Safety Month this September, it seems appropriate to discuss the recent passing of the long-debated National Food Disclosure Law (commonly referred to as the GMO Labeling Bill) that will take effect at the beginning of 2017. The bill requires all food manufacturers to list the presence of genetically modified ingredients in food on the packaging.

Many food manufacturers agree that the FDA regulations on food labeling are complex and not always clearly defined. With the FDA responsible for regulating about 80% of food product and packaging labels on the U.S. market and the GMO Labeling Bill going into effect in just 3 month, it is mission critical for food manufacturers and producers to be familiar with the mandatory requirements for proper food labeling.

Here’s an overview of the new requirements to help you get started.

On May 20, 2016, the FDA announced the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices.

3 Key Changes to the New Nutrition Facts Labels

A refreshed design will make key information more accessible to consumersNew Nutritional Labels

  • Type size for “Calories,” “servings per container,” and the “Serving size” declaration will increase and bolding the number of calories and the “Serving size” declaration to highlight this information
  • Footnote will now read “The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.”

 

Labels will reflect updated nutrition science information

  • The list of nutrients that are required is being updated
  • “Added sugars,” in grams and as percent Daily Value, will be included on the label
  • Daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D are being updated based on newer scientific evidence

New-Nutrition-Label-What-Is-Different

Updates are being made to serving sizes and requirements for certain packages

  • By law, serving sizes must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating

These changes align with consumer responses from surveys compiled by The Center for Food Safety. In fact, more than 90% of U.S. consumers believe genetically engineered foods should be labeled.

But before you get started with a food labeling expert, it’s wise to know the basics of proper food labeling.

Quick Guide to the FDA’s Food Labeling Regulations

Quick Guide to the FDA's Food Labeling Regulations

What information is required?

Most packaged food products sold and distributed in the U.S. require labels that contain the following information:

  1. The common name for that type of food
  2. Net weight of the product
  3. Producer or Distributor’s address
  4. List of ingredients
  5. Nutrition facts

Where should nutrition labels be positioned on food products and packaging?

Label placement is very important. The FDA instructs food manufacturers to display key product information so it’s easily seen by customers.Where should nutrition labels be positioned on food products and packaging

  • Principal Display Panel: The PDP is the portion of the package label that is most likely to be seen by the consumer at the time of purchase
  • Information Panel: These labels include the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor, the ingredient list, nutrition labeling and any required allergy labeling
  • Although there isn’t a required font style, the font type needs to be at least size 6 and in good contrast with the background of the nutrition facts label

What information should be included on nutrition labels?

 

The eight most common food allergens must be included on the ingredients lists: wheat, egg, milk, tree nut, peanut, fish, crustacean shellfish, soybeans.

5 nutrients that must appear on all nutrition facts labels are:

  1. Calories
  2. Total Fat
  3. Sodium
  4. Total Carbohydrates
  5. Protein

Conclusion

The current nutrition label is over 20 years old. To help ensure consumers have more recent, accurate nutrition information about the foods they are eating, changes must be made to the Nutrition Facts label. These changes are based on updated scientific information, new nutrition and public health research, more recent dietary recommendations, and input from the public.

Manufacturers have until July 26, 2018 to comply with the final requirements, and those with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to make the changes.

Food producers and manufacturers often team up with mobile printing specialists to develop a label solution that will contain all information required by law, within the required format. To learn more about Brother’s food safety and nutritional identifications solutions feel free to message me or click here to read more.

SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Labeling & Nutrition Guidance Document & Regulatory Information

SOURCE: Center for Food Safety, U.S. Polls on GE Labeling

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