Q: We understand that NutriData is FDA compliant. What is involved in getting FDA certified?
A: NutriData follows FDA compliance regulations in determining the information needed on your food labels. NutriData utilizes approved methodologies to produce nutrition facts labels per FDA mandated regulations. The FDA does not certify companies or manufacturers, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to assure the product being sold meets all FDA regulations for food labeling.
Q: Are manufacturers required to have nutrition facts labels on all food items to be sold?
A: Since May 8, 1994, nutrition labels have been mandatory on most but not all food packages. There are a number of situations in which food manufacturers or distributors are exempt from required food nutrition labeling or are given special provisions. If a nutritional claim or statement of nutritional content is provided, these exemptions may be voided. Exemptions include, but are not limited to, food products manufactured by a small business; delicatessen items; bakery items; and foods that do not have significant nutritional value, such as spices. For more detailed information, please visit http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/sbnle.html.
Q: We anticipate selling our food product through mail order. Are we required to provide a nutrition facts panel for our packaging?
A: Labeling laws are applicable to all forms of retail sale, which includes mail order operations. All food items sold by mail must be labeled with standard nutrition facts panels.
Q: How is serving size determined?
A: This is an excellent question, and one that NutriData regularly reviews with clients. The serving size is calculated from the FDA reference amount table by product category, e.g.: sauces, snacks, bread, beverages. This calculation is generated using the weight and volume of your product as essential data.
Q: Can you explain exactly what nutrition analysis is?
A: Nutritional analysis is performed on a product or formulation to provide the raw nutrient values for a given product. Nutritional analysis is necessary to create the nutrition facts label.
Q: Can the data from the nutritional analysis be transferred directly to the nutritional facts label?
A: The raw data from the nutritional analysis is not in a format suitable for printing on a nutritional facts label; the data must be converted into the format determined by the FDA first. See a sample report.
Q: The sample we send you needs to be the full-size bottle, right?
A: Yes, if at all possible. NutriData prefers that the sample be in its retail container so that we can determine the serving size, number of servings per container, and assist in determining the format of the label that’s appropriate for your size and type of container. Please visit our shipping page for more information.
Q: How does NutriData analyze our product?
A: NutriData is capable of doing both database analysis and laboratory analysis for our clients, and often performs a combination of the two. Database analysis is derived from the ingredients, the amount of each ingredient, and the process that the ingredients go through. Laboratory analysis is derived from various laboratory tests processes conducted on a product sample. Conducting both kinds of research often results in more accurate, more reliable, and most cost-effective food analysis.
Q: What type of analysis is more accurate, database or laboratory?
A: Both are accurate if done properly, but doing a laboratory analysis on a single product sample may not be as accurate as doing a database analysis on the recipe or formulation of the same product. This is because every time the product is produced, there are typically slight variations in the ingredients or in the mixing of the product. For example, one sample may contain more salt, or flour, or sugar, in it than another. The differences can be very slight but still affect the outcome of laboratory analysis. When the analysis is completed using the recipe or formulation, it results in a more consistent analysis. For more detail, please consult FDA guidelines.
Q: What is required of us in order to start the process of working with NutriData on obtaining food analysis information for food labels?
A: The process begins with a manufacturer filling out the NutriData order form and sending it to us via fax or email. When we receive the order form, we review it and send you an estimate, generally within 24 to 48 hours. If you choose to go forward with the analysis, you can pay online by credit card, or send a check with your product sample. All orders must be prepaid, and are returned within 7 to 10 days from date of payment assuming the receipt, by NutriData, of all necessary information.
Q: How long does the nutrition analysis take?
A: Currently, NutriData can complete an assignment within 7-10 days from date of payment and receipt of all necessary information for database analysis. Laboratory analysis requires between 14-18 working days.
Q: What is required of us in order to start the process of obtaining a nutrition facts panel?
A: The process begins with a manufacturer filling out the NutriData order form and sending it to us via fax or email. When we receive the order form, we review it and send you an estimate, generally within 24 to 48 hours. If you choose to go forward with the analysis, you can pay online by credit card, or send a check with your product sample.
Q: What are the costs of the process?
A: Please examine our fee schedule for details.
Q: Our company is definitely interested in hiring NutriData to provide information for our pizza products. However, we offer approximately twenty different menu items and may be interested in obtaining information on all the products. Is there a special plan for situations like this?
A: NutriData has special pricing for restaurants that have over fifteen menu items. NutriData is happy to provide specialized information in these circumstances.
Q: What contact information are we required to put on food packaging labels?
A: All food labels must cite the name and full address of the manufacturer, food packer, or food distribution company handling the product. When the name given is not that of the original manufacturer, the label must state qualifying information such as “distributed by ____” or “manufactured for ____.” If the named firm’s address is not listed in a city directory or telephone book then the address must be given in full, including the city or town, state, country (if not in the United States), and zip code (or mailing code for countries outside of the U.S.).
Q: Where does the nutrition facts panel get printed on food packaging?
A: The nutrition facts label is located in the same area as the ingredients list and with the name and address of the manufacturer, packager, or distributor, on the PDP (principal display panel). These elements may also be located on the information panel (which is adjacent to and on the right-hand side of the PDP, or, if space does not permit printing there, on the next panel adjacent toward the right). In the event that packages lack sufficient area on the PDP or information panel, the nutrition facts label can be located in any place on the package that the consumer can easily see.
Q: What do we do if the normal format for the nutrition facts label, which is vertical, does not fit well on our packaging?
A: Packages with more than 40” sq. available for printing can utilize “side-by-side” formatting if the vertical nutrition facts panel is not a good fit. An alternate option is to present the nutrition facts label in tabular (horizontal) form.
Q: Can NutriData explain the telephone number exemption that applies to small packages of food?
A: A small food package, defined as a package measuring less than 12” sq. in total surface area available for labeling, may not be able to hold a nutrition facts label. For the consumer’s information, the manufacturer/distributor may print a telephone number or address the consumer can use to obtain nutrition facts about the product. This exemption is valid only when the product label does not make any statements about nutrient content or make any other nutritional claims or statements.
Q: Are food manufacturers and distributors allowed to print nutrition facts panels in foreign languages?
A: All mandatory label statements are required to be printed in English and in a foreign language if any other material on the package is printed in a foreign language. When nutrition labels will be printed in a language other than English, manufacturers and distributors have their choice of a) presenting the nutrition information using both languages in one label or b) presenting the information in two labels. Numeric values that are the same in both languages do not need to be printed more than once.
Q: Does the FDA approve nutrition facts labels before they are printed?
A: No, the FDA does not engage in an approval process like this. The manufacturer or distributor of a product is responsible for compliance with food labeling regulations.