What are the Food Labeling Package Requirements of the FDA?
August 10, 2019
Food and agriculture industry insiders know that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) heavily regulates package labeling. Compliance with these laws can be frustrating, but regulators focus their efforts on consumer information and protection. It is not an unreasonable demand.
Food labeling is overly burdensome. There are a few elements that must be included on every package as well as other rules that must be followed. However, there are significant penalties for companies found guilty of mislabeling their products. Consider speaking with a food law attorney in California to ensure you are compliant.
Regulation by the FDA
There are many government departments that are responsible for regulating the labeling of food products. Certain items are governed by specific departments outside of the FDA.
The FDA is the main federal department that oversees the manufacturing and processing of consumable products. Not all food products fall under the arm of the FDA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) handles livestock products. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is responsible for alcohol and tobacco.
Mislabeling Can Lead to a Lawsuit
Consumers influence the importance of accurate food labeling. Over the last few years, hundreds of class action and mass tort lawsuits have been brought against food manufacturers for deceptive labeling practices. Courts tend to side with plaintiffs when it comes to information regarding the foods we ingest.
Mislabeling may even cross over the line into gross negligence. This is particularly true if a known allergen went unlisted and people became injured as a result. As you can see, there can be dire consequences for companies and their directors over labeling errors.
Information Required on Food Labels
As previously stated, the FDA regulates what producers must provide on their food packaging labels. Their goal is to inform consumers of exactly what they are putting into their bodies. The following elements are the minimum federal requirements:
Name and description of contents
List of ingredients
Name and address of producer
Disclosing the above-listed items is important for the legal protection of your company. While you are allowed to disclose additional information, be careful not to step into the territory of making inadvertent false claims.
For example, claiming that your product can cure a disease is unlawful, but asserting it supports health aspects is okay. The only requirement is that you have clinical evidence to support your claims.
Types of Claims You can Make About Your Food Products
The FDA permits producers to make certain claims about their food products. As an example, you can say “sodium free” or “low carb.” There are rules that apply to your products in order to use these terms. Again, take care to not make false claims in this regard.
Speak with a California Food Law Attorney About Compliance
The most effective way to establish compliance with the FDA is simply by speaking with a California food law attorney. He or she can apply industry-specific knowledge and experience for the best possible result.
At De Cárdenas Law Group, it is our mission to see you succeed in every legal aspect of your business. Give us the opportunity to show you how we can help you stay compliant with our legal services. You can schedule a meeting with our legal team in San Francisco or South Pasadena by calling (626) 577-6800.