Pro Tip: Food labels must comply with local regulations and laws to avoid fines or delays in shipments. Avoid these common mistakes.

Proper labeling of food products is always a concern for manufacturers, distributors and importers. The United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has many requirements that must be met when creating a label for your food product, which can make the process difficult. Here are the five most common mistakes you should avoid:

Omitting required information

Retail labels should state the product name, net contents, nutrition information, ingredient statement with an allergen disclosure, and the name and location of the business responsible for the product. In addition, there may be product specific requirements. Always check FDA regulations before you decide on your food label final design to make sure you are complying with the guidelines. 

Using incorrect font sizes 

Each labeling element has a minimum required font size. Make sure to follow the regulations for each section so that the required information is prominently displayed. 

Making incomplete product claims

If you plan to make a health, nutritional or other type of claim on your food package, be aware that the FDA has defined standards to address these optional claims. Review the regulation before making a special claim.

Inaccurate ingredient statement

Ingredients need to be listed by their common or usual name in descending order of predominance by weight. Any of the nine major allergens present in the product should either be explicitly listed in the ingredient statement or listed directly after by using a “Contains…” statement.

Using the incorrect serving size

The FDA has established procedures for determining the serving sizes for different categories of food. Follow these and do not select an arbitrary amount of the food product.

It is always a good idea to have an expert third party review your food labels to ensure you have met all the requirements.

Macy Sparks is a food labeling technologist at AIB International.