Food labeling has come a long way. It's surprising but it wasn't until 1990 that the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act required all packaged foods to include nutritional information. Required categories of nutritional labeling regulations include the ingredients list, serving size, nutrition facts, and daily value standards of nutrients. Additionally, if the product wishes to make claims about nutrients and healthfulness, they must substantiate them in some way. Nutritional information for non-packaged food like produce or fresh meats is often found on a nearby sign or in a brochure. (http://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/whatwedo/history/milestones/ucm128305.htm, http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/Inspections/InspectionGuides/ucm074948.htm, & p.53)
All ingredients must be listed in descending order by weight but the percentage of those ingredients are not required. For example, a product that lists three ingredients contains more of the first ingredient than the second and more of the first and second than the third but there's no way to tell how much of each is contained within. Additives must also be listed. (p.53)
Within the serving size section, the FDA-established serving size, in both metric and imperial scales for that particular food, must be included as well as the number of servings in the package. This allows for product comparison since you can compare nutritional information across different brands, products, and formulas. Strangely, the serving sizes on food labels is not always consistent with USDA Food Guide serving sizes. (p. 54)
The Nutrition Facts section includes, in grams and percentages of Daily Value, the information about calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates (which includes starches, sugar, and fiber), breakdown of dietary fiber and sugars, and protein, in that order. Additionally, this section needs to include the percentage of Daily Value of Vitamins A and C, iron, and...
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