What labeling is required by the USDA?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a set of regulations that ensure consumers can make informed decisions about the food they purchase. Enforcing transparency in the food industry, there are a range of essential labeling requirements which must be met before a food product is legally allowed to be sold.

Ingredient list

The USDA states that a full ingredient list must be included on food packaging, listing them in descending order by weight. This allows customers to make informed choices based on both their dietary restrictions and personal preferences, being able to see everything that is contained within the food they are purchasing.

Allergen information

Providing allergen information helps consumers avoid potentially dangerous ingredients and make safe choices for them. The clear identification of common allergens is required and this includes major food such as milk, nuts, eggs, fish, and wheat, highlighting not only if they are present in the product, but if the product may have been contaminated during the manufacturing process.

Nutrition information

The nutrition facts label is another USDA requirement that provides consumers with information about the nutritional content of the product. In a standardized format which is designed to help consumers understand the nutritional value of their food, it includes details such as a recommended serving size, calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, sugar, and salt.

Country of origin 

For certain products, especially fresh food such as fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, and fish, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is strictly regulated and enforced. This information allows consumers to make choices based on where their food was grown or processed, assessing factors such as safety and environmental impact.

Certified claims

We’re all exposed to claims such as organic, gluten-free, GMO-free, and low-fat every time we go to the supermarket. These claims are highly regulated by the USDA to ensure accuracy and prevent misleading information. Depending on the nature of the claim, extra certification may be required or a seal that shows that a product has undergone thorough testing processes to comply with the regulation.


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