What are the FDA Mandatory Label Information for Food Products?

Mandate of the Food and Drug Administration

Republic Act No. 3720, or otherwise known as the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, is the law creating the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), which is under the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Health.

The FDA is tasked by law to prescribe standards, guidelines, and regulations with respect to information, advertisements and other marketing instruments and promotion, sponsorship, and other marketing activities about the health products.

Mandatory labeling requirements for food products

Definition of a food product label

With the aim of providing coherence in the FDA’s regulatory system for food establishments and prepackaged food products, Administrative Order No. 2014-0030 was issued by the FDA. One effective national food safety and control system is consumer information about the food product through its label.

RA 3720 defined the term as any display of written, printed, or graphic matter upon the immediate container of any article and a requirement made by or under authority of the law that any word, statement, or other information appearing on the label shall not be considered to be complied with unless such word, statement, or other information also appears on the outside container or wrapper, if any there be, of the retail package of such article, or is easily legible through the outside container or wrapper.

Parts of a label of a food product

The following shall form part of the label of every food product:

  • The Principal Display Panel (PDP) or the Alternate Principal Display Panel

The PDP is the part of the package label which is readily seen by the consumer. The Alternate Principal Display Panel refers to the other surface of the package that is also suitable for display as PDP. In the PDP, the Product Identity Name and the Net Content Declaration must be indicated.

The area of the PDP shall be determined by multiplying the height with the width, in case of rectangular package. When the container is cylindrical or nearly cylindrical, the area is 40% of the value of the height of the container times the circumference. In case the shape of the container is not rectangle nor cylindrical, the area shall be determined by getting the 40% of the total surface area, in such case, the tops, bottoms, flanges of cans, and shoulders and necks of bottles and jars are excluded.

  • Information Panel

In the Information Panel, all the minimum mandatory information required by rules and regulations of the FDA must be found. These include the Product Name/ Name of the Food, Use of Brand Name and/or Trademark, Complete List of Ingredients, Net Contents and Drained Weight, Name and Address of Manufacturer, Repacker, Packer, Importer, Trader and Distributor, Lot Identification, Storage Condition, Expiry or Expiration Date), Food Allergen Information, Direction/ Instruction(s) for Use, and Nutrition Facts.

What is a Product Name?

The Product Name refers to the name of the food that indicates the true nature of the food, and shall normally be specific and not generic. Where a product name or names have been established for a particular food in a Food Standard, any one of the names may be used. In other cases, a common or usual product name, or in the absence thereof, an appropriate descriptive product name which is not misleading, deceptive, or confusing should be used.

For the consumer’s better understanding of the true nature and condition of the food, label must contain, either in conjunction with, or in close proximity to the product name of the food, such additional words or phrases, as necessary, to state the type of packing medium, form or style, and the condition or type of treatment it has undergone (e.g. dried, freeze dried, concentrated, smoke, reconstituted, etc.).

The product name/name of the food shall be presented prominently on the principal display panel in bold type letters and shall be in a size reasonably related to the biggest printed matter on such panel, e.g., trade mark or brand name.

What is a Net Content Declaration?

Under FDA Administrative Order No. 2014-0030, the net content should be specified using the metric system of measurement or “SI” (International System of Units). This should be found on either the principal display panel or the information panel and in parallel to the base of the package.

The FDA requires that the Net Content Declaration must be made in the following manner:

  1. For liquid foods, by volume;
  2. For solid foods, by weight, except that when such foods are sold by number, a declaration of count shall be made;
  3. For semi-solid or viscous foods, either by weight or volume.

Foods packed in a liquid medium normally discarded before consumption shall carry a declaration of drained weight. For the purposes of this requirement, liquid medium means water, aqueous solutions of sugar and salt, fruit and vegetable juices, in canned fruits and vegetables only or vinegar, either singly or in combination.

For multi-unit retail packages, a statement of the quantity of contents on the outside package shall include the number of individual units, the net content of each individual unit, and in parenthesis the total quantity of contents of the multi-unit package. A multi-unit retail package may thus be properly labeled: “20 x 10 g sachets (net wt. 200 g)” or “6 x 300 ml bottles (1.8 Lor 1000 ml)”.

What is an ingredient?

Ingredient means any substance, including a food additive, used as a component in the manufacture or preparation of food and present in the final product (in its original or modified form).

Except for single ingredient food, i.e., food products composed of only one substance, a complete list of ingredients shall be declared on the label, and must be headed or preceded by an appropriate title, which consists of, or includes, the term “ingredient”. The complete list of ingredients shall be declared in descending order of proportion on either the principal display panel or information panel. A specific name, not a collective (generic) name shall be used for an ingredient.

How shall the name and address of the manufacturer be labelled?

The name and address of the manufacturer, repacker, packer, importer, trader or distributor of the food shall be declared on the label of locally manufactured products. If a manufacturer has plant in many cities and/or towns, the corporate head office address would suffice provided every food package has a code/mark to identify the processing plant where it was produced.

If the prepackaged food is not manufactured by the person or company whose name appears on the label, the name must be qualified by “Manufactured for” or “Packed for” or similar expression.

For imported products, the complete name and address of importer and the country of origin shall be declared. In the case of products carrying foreign brands or manufactured under license by a foreign company, the name and address of the foreign company, shall be in letters of type and size not bigger than those used for the local company. When a food undergoes processing in a second country which changes its nature, the second country in which the processing is performed shall be considered to be the country of origin for the purposes of labeling.

What is a Lot Identification?

The lot identification code should be embossed or otherwise permanently marked individually on the immediate packages or containers. For Prepackaged foods in multi-unit retail packages such as candies with surface area less than 10 cm2, the same may be exempted from the requirements of lot identification code only when they are sold together with the primary packaging.

What is a barcode?

A barcode is an article numbering system for increased productivity. It includes the Philippine country code, the company code, the product code, and the check digit.

What is a nutrition declaration?

The Nutrition Facts or Declarations, or otherwise known as Nutrition Information/ Nutritive Value, refers to the standardized statement or listing of the nutrient content of a food. The Nutrition Facts or Declarations should likewise be indicated in the information panel of the food product. Nutrition Labeling is a description intended to inform the consumer of the nutritional properties of a food.

About Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices

About Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices If you need assistance in registration with the Food and Drug Administration, applications for Licenses to Operate, drug, cosmetic, medical device or food registration, registration of cosmetics, food supplements, licenses to operate or other applications with the Food and Drug Registration, or have issues in corporate law, commercial law, corporate or commercial litigation, or civil or other criminal law-related issues,  we can help you. Nicolas and de Vega Law Offices is a full-service law firm in the Philippines.  You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.  You may also call us at +632 84706126, +632 84706130, +632 84016392 or e-mail us at [email protected]. Visit our website https://ndvlaw.com.

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