Can I Make That Label Claim?

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Nutrient Content Claims
Every day consumers select products off the shelf based on packaging claims, such as “Fat Free” and “Good Source of Protein,” but how can you be sure that your product actually qualifies?
In this post, we are going to cover a few of the more common claims made:

  • Low Sodium
  • High in Vitamin C
  • Sugar Free

[content_box]First, a note on RACC values

Many of the available nutrient content claims are dependent on Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed per eating occasion, or RACC. According to the CFR the “reference amounts are based on data set forth in appropriate national food consumption surveys.” Values have been assigned to a wide variety of products. You can find the list here. [/content_box][content_box]Next, a note on the CFR

You can read the Code of Federal Regulations for these and all other claims here[/content_box]

LOW SODIUMLow Sodium Nutrient Content Claim
To use the claim “Low Sodium,” your food item must meet one of the following:

  • Individual servings should provide 140 mg or less of sodium; or
  • Meals and main dishes should provide 140 mg or less of sodium per 100 g.

Example: Chocolate cake

  1. The RACC for a slice of medium-weight cake is 80 g.
  2. There is 100 mg of sodium per serving in your chocolate cake.
  3. It therefore qualifies for a “low sodium” claim.

“High” is used to indicate that one serving of a product contains 20 percent or more of the DV for a nutrient. For Vitamin C, this is 12 mg per RACC.
If one serving of your item has, say, 14 mg of vitamin C, you can show “high in Vitamin C” on the package.  14 mg of Vitamin C per serving is over 23% Daily Value, and therefore qualifies.
In comparison, “Good Source of Vitamin C” means that the food contains 10 to 19% of the Daily Value, or for Vitamin C that means 6 mg to 11.9 mg per RACC.

Sugar Free Nutrient Content ClaimSUGAR FREE

“Sugar-free” on a package would indicate that:

  • There is less than 0.5 g of sugar per RACC and per serving size shown on the label; and
  • The item contains no ingredient that is a sugar or generally understood to contain sugars; and
  • Has a statement regarding the calorie content such as “low calorie” or “not a reduced calorie food.”

This differs from ‘No Added Sugar’, which means there was no sugar or sugar containing ingredients added during processing. If this is the case, you must also state on the label if the food is not “Low Calories” or “Reduced Calories.”
You may not, however, claim “Low Sugar” as the FDA hasn’t defined this term.
There’s one more consideration here, too. If you use one of the claims listed above, but your food had exceeded threshold levels for fat, cholesterol, sat fat or sodium, you have to use the disclosure “See nutrition panel for {nutrient} content.
Example: Your item is sugar free but, it contains more than 13 g of fat per serving, the label must read “See nutrition facts for fat content.”

Yes, this all sounds complicated and time-consuming. And it can be. The good news, however, is that our program – Genesis R&D Food Formulation & Labeling Software – has the claims regulations built in AND will tell you if your Recipe qualifies for any claims. With the click of a button, you can know if your recipe is “low in Sodium” or “a good source of Protein,” etc.

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