The goal of food labeling is to provide consumers with information on packaged foods that is factual and relevant to allow the consumer to make informed decisions about the foods they eat. Label information is intended to allow consumers to compare products, receive handling information, listings of ingredients and contact information for the producer or distributor so the consumer know who to call when they have questions.
Labeling requirements begin with the information that must be on the package. Section 19 CSR 20.1045 adopted the 2012 version of the section of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 101) for the basic label requirements. Other regulations that provide requirements for labels include:
- Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1967 (FPLA)
- Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C)
- Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA)
- Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA)
- Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA)
- Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010
All labels require some basic information. There are two main display panels that are describe in the regulations. The first is the Primary/Principle Display Panel (PDP) is required on all packages. It must have the products common name and net quantity. If the net quantity is the weight of the product it must be displayed in English and metric measurements. If the PDP is the only label it must list the ingredients in the order of most to least by weight and the name and address of the responsible firm. The second panel is the Information Panel (IP) and this is where the nutrition facts are to be when required. In addition the ingredient list can be placed here and the name and address of the responsible firm. The label must also identify in plain language whether the food contains any of the eight major allergens: milk, eggs, fish (e.g. bass, flounder or cod), crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab), tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans. The FDA has a guidance manual available with requirements and recommendations for designing labels.
Labeling actually includes other forms of information. I could include such information as brochures used to promote an item and even internet site information. This is important if the manufacturer intends to do such things as make special claims such as health claims.
Contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, at the District office office in your area to discuss the requirements if you have questions on labeling requirements. To see additional information for manufactured food regulations for more advanced processes use the links on the main Manufactured Food Program web page.