Labeling - Food Manufacturers, Wholesalers, and Warehouses

*NEW: Allergens and Food Labeling

The majority of questions from the public and industry involve labeling.

  • What has to be labeled?
  • How does it have to be labeled?
  • Do I have to nutrition label?
  • What are the requirements for allergen and trans-fat labeling?

All Packaged Food Labels Must Include

  • Common usual name of the product

  • Name and Address of Manufacturer
  • List of ingredients in descending order of predominance by net weight
    • Ingredient statements must be at 1/16 of an inch or larger
      • Ingredients must include components of the ingredients.  {ie.: Enriched Bleached Flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, wheat starch, ferrous sulfate (iron), thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B3), folic acid]}
      • The nine major food allergens {milk, eggs, type of fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod, etc.), crustacean (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp, etc.), tree nut (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.), peanuts, wheat, soybeans, sesame} must be declared using the common or usual name of the allergen.  Further information on food allergies can be found on FDA’s Food Allergies page.
    • All certified colors must be identified in the ingredient statement.  {ie:  FD&C yellow 5}
    • Preservatives must be followed with a statement of use. {i.e.: Calcium Proprionate (preservative)}
  • Net quantity of contents including metric measurements. The net quantity of contents must be separated from other text on the label and must be located in the bottom third of the label.
  • For beverages containing juice or that imply juice content, the percentage of juice must be declared on the information panel.

Complete information on food labeling can be found in the FDA Food Labeling Guide


Allergens and Food Labeling 



Regulations and exemptions

The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, also known as NLEA, brought about the requirement for nutrition labeling to be carried on most foods. It also allowed for nutrient content claims (example: Low Fat) and approved health claims. Nutrition labeling is required for all foods with a nutrient content claim or health claim. All food products marketed after May 1994 must bear nutritional labeling unless the food qualifies for an exemption.

Labeling regulations and exemptions can be found in 21 CFR 101.100.

For more information on Nutrition Labeling:

Final Rule passed May 20, 2016, for Nutrition Facts labels for packaged foods can be found on the FDA website under Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label.  You may also visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Website.

Labeling agreements can be made if the product needs to be further processed, labeled or repacked in order for a label agreement to qualify; i.e. the product can’t be sent to a customer who serves it “as is” such as tortilla chips. Bread made into sandwiches would qualify for example. Please see 21 CFR 100.100 (d) through (e) for the regulations describing labeling agreements.

Requirements for Food Labeling