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Labels play a crucial role in your customer service efforts. Apart from capturing attention, they should also provide consumers with valuable regulation-compliant information. They do more than hold your products in place; they should act as communication tools that empower your clientele.

Following label rules helps to promote your brand and prevents you from obtaining unnecessary fines. However, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updates these legal requirements from time to time. Read on to discover five label requirements you should apply to your packaging.

1. Labels Should Display Your Statement of Identity

Labels, particularly for food, should contain your statement of identity, which by definition means the name of your product. Your product’s common name should be on the Principal Display Panel (PDP) and any alternate PDP. The FDA requires manufacturers to print it in bold type to make it one of the most prominent features on the PDP.

However, the FDA recently announced the revocation of the standard of identity for French dressings. Because of a citizen petition from the Association for Dressings and Sauces (ADS), the FDA decided to upgrade its label rules for the product category.

This act will provide manufacturers with more flexibility in the product’s creation — a move that makes it comparable with nonstandardized food items available in the market.

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2. Include the Required Nutrition Facts Chart

The FDA requires a Nutrition Facts Chart containing serving size, calorie, and macronutrient information. The agency follows a recommended template for font type, size, and space. Before finalizing your packaging, check out the FDA rules first.

In 2016, the FDA announced the first major upgrade of the Nutrition Facts label since 1994. If you haven’t upgraded yours yet, now is the perfect time to do so. Below are the deadlines imposed by the government agency:

  • January 1, 2020: Brands earning at least $10 million in annual sales
  • January 1, 2021: Brands earning less than $10 million in annual sales
  • July 1, 2021: Honey, maple syrup, and other single-ingredient sugar products

3. Your Labels Must Contain Ingredient Information

According to FDA label requirements, companies should disclose every ingredient available in a food or beverage product. However, the arrangement shouldn’t be arbitrary. Instead, it should follow these guidelines:

  • Print your ingredient list to the right of your nutritional panel. If you can’t meet this rule because of space constraints, use the space directly below it.
  • This portion should start with the word ingredients.
  • List your ingredients in descending order, according to weight.
  • Choose common or usual names for your labels if there’s no regulation stating otherwise. For instance, use sugar instead of sucrose.
  • Display major food allergens in your label, no matter how little of it you use. The list includes milk, eggs, nuts, shellfish, wheat, etc.
  • You can list sub-ingredients in parentheses.
  • The FDA allows shortened terms, like using milk instead of concentrated milk.
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4. Stop Using the Term Genetically Modified

On January 1, food brands from all over the country started rolling out their new labels for genetically modified foods and ingredients. If you noticed previous packaging designs, they contained terms like genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE). However, according to the latest label rules, the new term for food items boosted with science is bioengineered.

Additionally, such information should contain a QR code that consumers can scan to learn more about their preferred food products. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) disagrees with this update, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) still implemented it.

5. Reevaluate Made in the U.S.A. Labels

On July 14, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the updated Made in the U.S.A. (MUSA) label rule. It aims to review all brands declaring their products are Made in the U.S.A, Made in America, or other similar claims. The FTC checks such labels on physical and online content.

Before a brand can use a certified MUSA stamp, it should meet at least one of these requirements:

  • Manufacturers perform product assembly on U.S. grounds.
  • Most of the processing happens in the U.S.A.
  • All or virtually all ingredients come from local sources. 

We recommend changing your packaging immediately if you use MUSA labels to complement your strategies but don’t meet the criteria.

Upgrade Your Labels Now

Your label design should not only look amazing; it should also comply with government rules. Before investing in a packaging overhaul, ensure you’re following the latest label requirements.

If you’re ready to upgrade your food packing, you can trust experienced providers like Leapin’ Lizard Labels to help you out. You deserve a partner with no minimum orders or extra charges for custom shapes. Request a quote now for top-quality, eco-friendly printing services.

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