Like many items, dairy products have unique labeling requirements in the United States. Regulations help keep dairy products safe, affordable and consistent. Food producers and packagers are required to meet certain standards before their products can be sold to consumers.
Understanding dairy labeling requirements is the key to designing your dairy product labels, and choosing the right labeling system for your line. Here’s an overview of what your labels should include.
Who regulates dairy production and marketing?
There are two main agencies that regulate dairy production in the United States: the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA regulates most dairy products, but certain products, such as GMOs or GMO ingredients, are subject to USDA rules. States may adopt additional requirements if they choose. Finally, domestic and international organizations may contribute to research and suggestions for best practices.
Requirements for dairy product labels
Regulations may differ based on the type of dairy product. Certain standards apply to all products, however. In the United States, dairy product labels must contain:
- The product name: Your product label must identify what the product is, such as milk, eggs, cheese, ice cream or other dairy products. The product identity is based on existing laws or regulations or common names for products, like “goat cheese.” It can also include specific brand or variety names.
- Manufacturer: The label should identify the manufacturer, including business name and address.
- Net weight statement: All dairy product labels must list their net weight in ounces and the metric equivalent for solid products, and fluid ounces and the metric equivalent for liquids like milk. However, there are exceptions, depending on the type of product and how it’s packaged. For example, ice cream weights can be listed in pints, quarts and gallons, but they still need to include the metric equivalent.
- Ingredient list: Next, include an ingredient list, in descending order by weight. Some ingredients may not need to be listed, if they make up two percent or less of the total product, or the ingredients are listed under quantifying statements like “Contains less than one percent of [ingredient].”
- Allergen statement: You’re also required to list potential allergens in either of two ways. First, you can list them by the common name of the food source, followed by the name of the allergen in parenthesis. Alternatively, you can list allergens after the ingredient list with “Contains: [allergen].”
- Nutrition facts panel: Your dairy product must include a panel describing the nutrition facts. This can be complex, so you’ll need to research specific FDA regulations based on product type.
- Plant number: Finally, your label should include the dairy plant identification number where the product was manufactured.
Discover dairy product labeling solutions with Quadrel
Quadrel offers four different pressure sensitive labeling systems especially designed for dairy products. With speeds of up to 400 products per minute, your labeling line will be faster and more precise than ever. Reach out today to learn more about each system’s features, or find out how you can customize a system for your specific needs.