The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 was created so that customers can be better informed of what they were eating. The NLEA requires that certain information about the food be put on a packaging label, in a reasonably visible manner so that the shopper would be able to read and understand the information before they bought the product. The basic information that must be included on the food product label is:
- Name of the product
- Name and address of the manufacturer
- Amount of food in terms of weight and measure
- Serving sizes
- Nutrition facts
What Kind of Information Must be Listed about the Ingredients?
Every ingredient used in the food product should be listed in order by the amount of the ingredient in the product. The ingredient that is most predominant in the food product should be listed first and the ingredient of which there is the least should be listed last.
What Kind of Information Must be Listed in the Nutrition Facts?
The nutrition facts should include the amount of nutrients and other parts (fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, protein) that the food product is composed of. Also, the nutrition facts will usually list the percentage of your recommended daily value for each nutrient and other items that one serving consists of. For example, the nutrition facts might say that the product has 110g of sodium per serving, which would make up 5% of your daily value.
Is There Any Information That Must be Listed about Claims Made on the Label?
If there are any claims on the label that are covered under the NLEA, the food product must meet the definition of those claims. For example, if a food product has a claim on the label saying it is "fat free", the NLEA requires that the food product have less than 0.5g of fat per serving, with no added fat or oil.
What Can I Do if I Found a Food Product That Has a False or Misleading Label?
If you have already complained to the manufacturer with no satisfactory response, you should file a complaint with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition, you may want to consult a consumer rights attorney. Your attorney will advise you of your rights and let you know if you may be entitled to money damages in a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the food product you have purchased.