Credit and Source: ReciPal @ https://www.recipal.com/faq
For a fairly comprehensive guide to nutrition fact labeling, visit the FDA Food Labeling Guide. We’ll try to cover the basics and most questions related to using ReciPal, but won’t get into all the nitty gritty of the FDA rules. ReciPal is all about simplifying the process for you. You can also visit our blog for more questions, answers, resources and new features in a longer format than the FAQs below.
Nutrition Facts, Labs, Database Analysis
Do I need nutrition facts on my product label at all?
This depends on a lot of things and for a full understanding, it’s best to read the FDA guide we link to above.
It is always a good idea to be clear and honest with your customers, and one way of doing so it to provide nutrition facts. You are never prohibited from including nutrition facts on your packaging, however there are certain foods and businesses that are exempt and others that MUST provide nutrition facts. For example, fresh fruit and vegetables don’t require nutrition facts. Foods with nutrient content claims (e.g. “low-fat”) must include nutrition facts. More broadly, the size of your business dictates whether or not you need nutrition facts on your packaging. Businesses that sell $50,000 or less worth of food or $500,000 or less worth of food and non-food combined are generally exempt. Businesses with fewer than 10 full-time employees and less than 10,000 units sold annually are also exempt. After crossing any of these thresholds, there is a leniency period of 18 months after which the business has to comply. More details can be found here.
What am I required to have on my food product label?
There are a few things that every food label is required to have, whether or not it has a nutrition fact panel. These are the statement of identity (or the name of the food) and net quantity statement (amount of the product in the package), which both have to be on the principal display panel (usually the front of the package, but can differ depending on the packaging type). Other required statements include the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor, the ingredient list, nutrition labeling (if necessary or desired) and any required allergy labeling (milk, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, soybeans). These last statements can be on the side or information panel.
See more on our blog post on Food Labeling Requirements.
But don’t I have to send my food to a lab for nutrition analysis?
Absolutely not. Database analysis is a perfectly acceptable method of nutritional analysis and often more accurate than a lab analysis. According to the FDA: ‘FDA has not stated how a company should determine the nutrient content of their product for labeling purposes. Therefore, there is no prohibition from using “average” values for its product derived from databases’.
However, if you would like to do a lab nutrition analysis instead we have a partner lab that provides a discounted rate to ReciPal customers. You can see how it works on our hire a labeling expert page or order it directly on our lab nutrition analysis order page. You can also read more about how lab analysis works and when it’s more appropriate on our lab nutrition analysis article.
Is database analysis as accurate as lab analysis?
Each form of analysis has its merits, and the FDA does not prefer one method over the other, but the database analysis tends to be more accurate in the long run. That is because the database method relies on the average nutritional content of ingredients, whereas lab nutrition analysis only gives you the nutritional content of your product the one time you made it for the lab, which is not identical to every other time (ingredients, process, and measurements all change a little bit each time and especially over time).
I don’t even have to pay a nutrition consultant to do it for me?
Nope. Using ReciPal will be easier and faster. And if you have questions, ask us and we’re happy to help.
If you are still uncomfortable doing your own nutrition analysis and labels, you can hire a nutrition label expert to do it for you. We’ve done hundreds of nutrition labels and created the software to do it, so we’re remarkably qualified. You’ll get your nutrition analysis, FDA-compliant labels in various formats, ingredient list, allergen declaration, and a free account with ReciPal to do your own costing and handle any changes free of charge.