Food Label Claims

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April 6, 2021 - Author: , & ,

Food Label Requirements

All information on food labels must not be false or misleading.

  • Product name/statement of identity
  • Net weight
  • Manufacturer’s name, city and state
  • Nutrition facts (some exceptions)
  • Ingredient list including identifying allergens
  • Raw meat and poultry products require a safe handling statement

The 'Extra' Info on Food Labels

Food labels influence consumer purchasing decisions and it is important to understand them. What about all of the “extras” or additional information on food labels? These are label claims! Some, but not all label claims, are defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Producer and manufacturing claims are added to enhance marketing strategies.

Where Do Label Claims Originate?

Government

Example: USDA Organic

  • Claims defined by the FDA and USDA
  • Ensure fair competition among producers or manufacturers
  • Provide basic information for consumers to reduce health and safety risks
  • Health claims reviewed by FDA are allowed to show that a food or food component may reduce the risk of disease or health related condition

Third-Party

Example: Non-GMO Project Verified

  • Used to enhance the understanding and credibility of food attributes that can be used at the consumer’s discretion
  • Each certifying organization has its own set of criteria and verification/certification standards
  • Product standards conveyed via third-party websites
  • Not government defined but must comply with food labeling laws

Producer or Food Manufacturer

Example: Free Range

  • Producer claims do not have to go through external third-party audits
  • Some but not all statements must meet certain standards in order to be used (e.g., “free range” must meet USDA standards whereas “natural” is not as regulated)
  • Not government defined but must comply with food labeling laws

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Tags: agriculture, animal agriculture, breakfast on the farm, food label claims, food labels, labeling and regulation, msu extension, rapid response for agriculture


Authors

Mary Dunckel

Mary Dunckel
dunckelm@msu.edu

Jeannine Schweihofer

Jeannine Schweihofer
grobbelj@msu.edu

Ashley Kuschel

Ashley Kuschel
kuschela@msu.edu

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