Hi there budding food manufacturers! If you’ve reached this article, you’re likely looking for the answer to the question in our title: “Do I Need to Submit My Nutrition Label to the FDA?”. Are we right? Well, I’m not going to make you skim the entire article to know the answer. (I hate when writers do that!) The answer in short is no, you do not need to submit your nutrition facts panel to the FDA.
HOWEVER. There are a list of items that the FDA would like to see before you head into the nearest grocery store to present your food product to the public. Hold.The.Phone. Could it really be true? No nutrition panel submission? Yep! You’ve read correctly. If that’s all you needed to know, please feel free to exit the chat. But if you’re interested in finding out about the items the FDA wants you to submit, stick with us, we’ll walk you through and have you prepped in no-time.
Be Cautious When Making Health Claims About Your Food Product
We’re in the middle of a time in the industry where functional foods reign supreme. And what that means is that foods that perform a function in the body or offer some sort of health-improvement are in high demand. Our coffee can’t just wake us up anymore, no way. Our morning cup of jet fuel needs to not only wake us up, but smooth our skin with collagen, calm our nerves with ashwaghanda and boost our immune systems with chaga mushrooms (I’m talking to you Everyday Dose). And while these food products are phenomenal, their health benefits must have backing if they’re going to carry a nutrition facts panel.
If you are looking to market your food product as having the ability to improve the state of the body by means of supporting health, this is a health claim. (If you haven’t read our article on claims yet, make sure you do!) But the bottom line is, these are what the FDA is concerned with. The entire purpose of FDA regulation through nutrition fact panels is to inform the consumer of how their food choices impact their bodies. This means that the claims made on the product packaging must be reliable and accurate. According to the FDA, to make what’s known as an Authorized Health Claim, you must have significant scientific proof to back your claim:
“To be approved by the FDA as an authorized health claim, there must be significant scientific agreement (SSA) among qualified experts that the claim is supported by the totality of publicly available scientific evidence for a substance/disease relationship. The SSA standard is intended to be a strong standard that provides a high level of confidence in the validity of the substance/disease relationship.”
So while the FDA doesn’t require you to submit your entire panel, you must not make any claims about your food product that do not have significant scientific backing. That’s what supplements are for.
So, now we all know the answer to “Do I Need to Submit My Nutrition Label to the FDA?”. Great Question!
For more answers to questions just like this one, visit our FDA Resource Center!