The Nutrition Facts Label in the USA is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CFR. It is undoubtedly one of the most controversial issues and, from experience, one where mistakes are often made. For this reason, in this post, we will analyze the essential and mandatory elements of the Nutrition Facts Label in the USA.
Serving Size: What it means and how it is determined
First of all, Serving Size. Serving Size refers to the amount of food considered as a portion, and must be established based on the “Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed per Eating Occasion.” Also, the Serving Size can be declared in ounces and fluid ounces. Furthermore, the metric measure must be used separated by a slash where other common household measures such as primary units for Serving Size are used, for example, “1 slice (28 g / 1 oz) of sliced bread.”
Nutrients to Declare on the Nutrition Facts Label in the USA
The mandatory elements of the Nutrition Facts Label in the USA are: calorie content, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, total sugars, and protein. The quantity of each nutrient must be expressed per serving.
Calories, Total, Saturated, and Trans Fats
The calorie content per serving must be expressed to the nearest increment of 5 calories up to 50 calories and to the nearest increment of 10 calories above 50 calories. Total fats must be expressed to the nearest increment of 0.5 grams below 5 grams and to the nearest increment of 1 gram above 5 grams. The content of saturated fats must be expressed in the same way. In addition, the declaration of trans fat content is mandatory.
Cholesterol, Sodium, and Carbohydrates
The cholesterol content must be expressed in the nearest increment of 5 milligrams, except for products that contain less than 2 milligrams per serving. The amount of sodium must be expressed in the nearest increment of 5 milligrams when the serving contains from 5 to 140 milligrams of sodium and in the nearest increment of 10 milligrams above 140 milligrams. The amount of total carbohydrates must be expressed to the nearest gram.
Fiber, Sugars, and Protein
The amount of dietary fiber must be expressed to the nearest gram, as well as the amount of total sugars. The declaration of added sugar content is mandatory when present in the package. Finally, the amount of protein must be expressed to the nearest gram.
Vitamins and Minerals
The percent Daily Value of Vitamins and minerals must include vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium, in that order, for infants up to 12 months, children from 1 to 3 years, pregnant and breastfeeding women, adults, and children 4 years or older.
Conclusion about the Nutrition Facts Label in the USA
The Nutrition Facts Label in the USA is an important source of information for food buyers. It is essential to correctly prepare the Nutrition Facts Label, paying attention to all mandatory elements and additional elements such as font size, distance between information, and voluntary information.
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