There is more to packaging than meets the eye. Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, brands should develop labels that adhere to government regulations. If you don’t follow such rules, you could receive hefty fines for every product line that doesn’t comply with the guidelines.
It’s also worth noting that all 50 states have various directives regarding label laws. As an entrepreneur or company decision-maker, it’s essential to stay up to date with mandated changes. This article will discuss some of the most notable label law updates over the past couple of years.
Labeling for Genetically Modified Foods
On January 1, consumers witnessed a label change on genetically modified foods (GMOs) and ingredients. Despite protests from the Center for Food Safety (CFS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) required a packaging upgrade.
The old packaging guidelines included terms like genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). However, as per new USDA rules, companies should replace them with the word bioengineered. Additionally, these labels should contain a QR code leading to a page that provides consumers with more product information online.
According to the CFS, this move will leave most GMO-laden foods unlabeled and discriminate against the massive anti-GMO population. The USDA, however, won’t budge. The new labeling guidelines still stand.
Made in USA Labels
On July 14, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published the Made in U.S.A. (MUSA) rule. The ruling aims to track all labels that claim a product is Made in the U.S.A., Made in America, or its equivalent, including physical and online materials.
These circumstances qualify a product for using the MUSA label:
- A product’s assembly takes place in the United States.
- Significant product processing happens in the United States.
- All or virtually all ingredients or parts are from the United States.
When FTC published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on MUSA labeling, hundreds of commenters questioned its applicability on products like beef and shrimp. After all, the USDA and FDA have primary jurisdiction over food labeling.
In line with this ruling, the USDA promised to promote transparency efforts to complement FTC’s strategies. For now, the agency runs a top-to-bottom review of Product of USA claims.
If your packaging uses the MUSA stamp but doesn’t meet these criteria, you might want to consider changing it as soon as possible.
Nutrition Facts Label
In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared the first major change to the Nutrition Facts label since 1994. However, the regulation is still relevant today because the deadline for label updates ended last July.
Below are the critical dates imposed by the FDA:
- January 1, 2020: Manufacturers reaching at least $10 million in yearly sales
- January 1: 2021: Manufacturers earning less than $10 million in food sales per year
- July 1, 2021: Manufacturers of honey, maple syrup, and other single-ingredient sugars
If you haven’t updated your packaging yet, here are a few guidelines on FDA’s Nutrition Facts Label Education Campaign:
- Use a bold font type for the serving size section.
- Choose a larger font for the calorie count than the word calories.
- Include a section for added sugars under the total sugars section.
- Update your footnote and information.
According to the FDA, the term labeling means “all labels and other written, printed, or graphic matters (1) upon any article of any of its containers or wrappers, or (2) accompanying such an article.” This definition covers all your promotional materials, including packaging, product inserts, and instructions.
The government takes product information seriously, and you should too. Non-compliance can lead to various sanctions, from criminal prosecutions to massive fines to product seizure. Before producing labels, review the regulations on food, beverages, supplements, medical devices, drugs, cosmetics, and other products first.
Upgrade Your Labels Now
Labels do more than pique consumers’ interest in your products. The government regulates this packaging aspect to empower buyers with informed choices. It requires detailed information on ingredients, nutrition information, expiration dates, and so on.
Without these rules, manufacturers can deceive potential clients with misleading details.
If you aren’t working with a Compliance agency, we highly recommend doing so. They’ll be able to adequately review your labels to ensure you’re meeting all standards.
When you are ready to upgrade your labels, request a free quote now by clicking here, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us at 970-484-0850. We guarantee competitive prices and high-quality outputs that will enhance your position in the market.