University of Maryland Extension

Labeling

Labels provide information to trace a food back to its source, identify ingredients, warn of potential health hazards, recommend storage conditions, and verify weight or volume, quality or grade, calories and nutrition. Label requirements may be linked to how food is processed, where it is processed, how it is stored, and how it is distributed. Labels are required for all prepared foods, including breads, cereals, canned and frozen foods, snacks, desserts, drinks, etc. USDA, FDA, state departments of agriculture, and state departments of health have specific labeling requirements for each type of food.

Contact the authorities that have jurisdiction over your product, process, and distribution, and learn the labeling requirements. Get this information in writing. Do not proceed on the basis of a conversation with one person or on the basis of information on a website. Confirm your plans with appropriate state and/or federal agencies.

Resources

FDA Food Labeling & Nutrition Overview
http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/default.htm

FDA Guidance for Industry "Food Labeling Guide" April 2008 (printable document)
http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm2006828.htm...

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