Common mistakes made on nutrition facts
Your nutrition facts are a reflection of you, your product and your company. Properly prepared, they communicate to regulators and your customers that your company is credible, trustworthy and professional. The future success of your business depends on nutrition facts that are formatted correctly and compliant.
Below is a list of the 4 most common mistakes made on nutrition facts. This list is provided to help you steer clear of trouble spots and avoid breaking the regulations for nutrition facts. Take a look and see if you have made any of these nutrition facts mistakes.
Mistake #1: The serving size is incorrect
Serving sizes for food Nutrition Facts are regulated by the FDA. Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACCs) are used to determine servings. The serving size declaration is made up of two parts: a "household measure term" followed by its metric equivalent in grams (g). For beverages, the household measures may be declared as either fluid ounces, cups, or fractions of a cup with the metric equivalent in milliliters (mL). The examples below show permitted declarations.
Cookies - "1 cookie (30 g)"
Juice - "8 fl oz (240 mL)," or "1 cup (240 mL)" for multi-serving containers, or the container (e.g., "1 can") for single serving containers
Grated cheese - "1 tablespoon (5 g)" or "1 tablespoon (5 g/0.2 oz)
How to determine serving size example: Pizza
From the reference amounts table (21 CFR 101.12(b)), you determine that the reference amount for pizza is 140g. The following example shows how to use the reference amount to determine the serving size for a 16 oz (454g) pizza:
Calculate the fraction of the pizza that is closest to the reference amount of 140g (calculations are shown for a pizza of net weight 16oz/454g pizza):
1/3 X 454g = 151g1/4 X 454g = 113g
Note that 151g is closer than 113g to the reference amount for pizza (140g)
The serving size is the fraction closest to the reference amount together with the actual gram weight for that fraction of the pizza:
Example: "Serving Size 1/3 pizza (151g)"
Therefore, the serving size is "1/3 pizza (151g)" for this example, whereas the reference amount is 140g for all pizzas.
Mistake #2: The servings per container is incorrect
For a pizza, for instance, the slices are treated as "discrete units." One slice is a single serving if it weighs from 67% to less than 200% of the reference amount. Larger slices (weighing at least 200% and up to and including 300% of reference amount) may also be required to have dual-column labeling. For slices weighing between 50%-67% of the reference amount, the serving size may be declared as either one or two slices. For slices weighing less than 50% of the reference amount, the serving size is the number of slices closest to the reference amount.
For packages containing from two to five servings, round the number of servings to the nearest 1/2 serving.
"2 servings," "2-1/2 servings," "3 servings," "3-1/2 servings," "4 servings," "4-1/2 servings," and "5 servings."
For packages containing five or more servings, round the number of servings to the nearest whole serving.
5 servings," "6 servings," "7 servings." Rounding should be indicated by the term "about" (e.g., "about 6 servings").
21 CFR 101.9(b)(8)
Mistake #3: The wrong format is used
The following is an example of a vertical display Nutrition Facts panel with the point requirements for text size, leading, rule, and bullets.
† Text in bold font is Helvetica Black; text not bolded is Helvetica Regular; leading may be “at least” the point size indicated in all instances
1. “Serving size” declaration may be decreased to no smaller than 8 pt bold if needed for the declaration
2. Saturated fat, Trans Fat, Dietary Fiber, Total Sugars, Added Sugars, voluntary nutrients (if listed) and their g/mg values: No smaller than 8 pt with 4 pt of leading
3. Total Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Total Carbohydrate, andProtein: Bold, no smaller than 8 pt with 4. pt of leading
4 % Daily Values for nutrients that appear between 7 point rules:Bold, no smaller than 8 pt.
5. Vit. D, Calcium, Iron, Potas., voluntary nutrients (if listed) and their mg/mcg values and % Daily Values: No smaller than 8 pt and with 4 pt of leading
Mistake #4: Improper rounding of values
The following table provides rounding rules of quantitative amounts for declaring nutrients on the nutrition facts label:
|Calories||< 5 cal = 0
≤50 cal = nearest 5 cal
> 50 cal = nearest 10 cal
|Any Fat||< 0.5 g = 0
< 5 g - = 0.5g
≥5 g = nearest 1 g
|Cholesterol||< 2 mg = 0
2 - 5 mg = "less than 5 mg"
> 5 mg = nearest 5 mg
|Sodium||< 5 mg = 0
5 - 140 mg = nearest 5 mg
> 140 mg = nearest 10 mg
|< 0.5 g = 0
< 1 g = "less than 1 g"
≥1 g = nearest 1 g
|Protein||< 0.5 g = 0
< 1 g = "less than 1 g"
≥1 g = nearest 1 g
|Vitamin D||<0.35mcg = 0
> 0.35mcg = nearest 0.1mcg
|Calcium||< 25mg = 0
> 25mg = nearest 10mg
|Iron||< 0.35mg = 0
> 0.35mg = nearest 0.1mg
|Potassium||<95mg = 0
>95mg = nearest 10mg
To express nutrient values to the nearest 1 g increment, for amounts falling exactly halfway between two whole numbers or higher (e.g., 2.5 to 2.99 g), round up (e.g., 3 g). For amounts less than halfway between two whole numbers (e.g, 2.01 g to 2.49 g), round down (e.g., 2 g). When rounding % DV for nutrients other than vitamins and minerals, when the % DV values fall exactly halfway between two whole numbers or higher (e.g., 2.5 to 2.99), the values round up (e.g., 3 %). For values less than halfway between two whole numbers (e.g., 2.01 to 2.49), the values round down (e.g., 2%).
The Percent DV provided by one serving must be declared, rounded to the nearest whole percent. Percentages for vitamins and minerals must be expressed to the nearest 2% up to 10%, to the nearest 5% above 10% up to and including 50%, and to the nearest 10% above 50% of RDI. Amounts of vitamins and minerals less than 2% of relevant RDIs need not be declared, but they may be declared by a zero.