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Label at Your Own Risk: The Hidden Dangers of DIY Nutrition Labeling

September 20, 2023

Accurate nutrition labeling is an anchor of credibility, brand integrity and trust for food manufacturers in today’s discerning consumer market. With an inclination toward DIY solutions in various business sectors, some manufacturers may be tempted to embark on self-created nutrition labels. At first glance, DIY nutrition labeling might appear as a cost-effective shortcut. Yet, beneath this allure lies a minefield of potential legal troubles. Misinformation on nutrition labels can have substantial consequences, far beyond just regulatory fines.

How Do-it-yourself Nutrition Labeling Works

Most do-it-yourself nutrition labeling software relies on food and ingredient data found in nutritional databases. The process is straightforward – you input your ingredients and serving size information and you will receive the nutritional facts for the product. However, not all databases are created equal. Some may have incomplete information or be missing ingredient information altogether. It can be easy to overlook small details about the process used in creating your product that can change the nutritional composition of your product.

There are also many food and beverage products that go through different processes during their creation that will require full laboratory nutritional analysis. If your product is dehydrated, brewed, filtered, fermented, pickled, or brined it will require nutrition analysis that can only be performed through professional laboratory testing. Nutritional analysis may also be needed if your recipe contains ingredients for which you can’t find all the nutrient values in an existing database.

Even if you can obtain accurate nutritional facts from an online software database that accounts for processing variances, FDA compliant nutrition labels must meet rigid and ever-changing style guidelines. Minor stylistic errors such as incorrect font size and placing information in the wrong order on the label can cause it to fall out of FDA compliance.

The Risks of DIY Nutrition Labeling

  • Inaccurate Information: The most glaring risk of DIY nutrition labeling is the potential for inaccurate information and the FDA stepping in to pull your product from shelves. Without the rigorous testing methods employed by specialized labs, manufacturers might rely on generalized data, which can lead to incorrect nutrient values. This misinformation can be dangerous for consumers, particularly those with dietary restrictions or medical conditions.
  • Legal Repercussions: Regulatory bodies worldwide maintain stringent standards for food labeling. Providing misleading or false information, even inadvertently, can result in hefty penalties, recalls, and a tarnished brand image.
  • Consumer Mistrust: As consumers become more health-conscious, they seek transparency in food labeling. Brands that are found to be untruthful or inaccurate in their nutrition facts can lose consumer trust, affecting their market position.
  • Lack of Expertise: Nutrition science is a multifaceted discipline that requires nuanced understanding. Simple errors, such as confusing serving sizes or misinterpreting nutrient interactions, can easily creep in without the requisite expertise.

The Shield of ISO-Certified Labs

By partnering with ISO-certified labs, food manufacturers don’t just ensure accurate labeling; they embark on a journey of continuous improvement and commitment to excellence.

ISO certified labs employ comprehensive testing using the latest equipment to determine accurate nutritional content. The rigorous quality control processes inherent in ISO certification means that errors are minimized. Moreover, these labs are not just about equipment and methodologies. They are populated by experts well-versed in the intricacies of food regulations globally. This expertise ensures that manufacturers are not just getting accurate nutritional content, but also guidance on compliant labeling practices.

The RL Food Testing Difference

With RL Food Testing, you will receive top-rated, 5-star customer service that will walk you through the entire process needed to get your product ready to sell. Using online software has limitations. The validity of your label will only be as good as the information you provide and the depth of knowledge within the database. We utilize a database containing nutrition information for thousands of different ingredients including USDA ingredients. You will also get the added benefit of a dedicated representative who will help catch those “little” things you may have overlooked if doing it alone.

Laboratory analysis is available for products that have ingredients with nutritional information not available in the database or those that utilize specialized food processing techniques. Our label technicians undergo hours of training to ensure the resulting nutritional facts are accurate and compliant with the most up-to-date FDA regulations.

Obtaining an FDA compliant nutritional label in an investment in your products success. Just as you would look for the best ingredients to complete your recipe, you should trust an industry leader to help you with this process.

Partner with the Experts

In the competitive landscape of food manufacturing, the DIY approach to nutrition labeling is a high-stakes gamble with the odds stacked heavily against brands. The potential legal repercussions of missteps are brand damaging and expensive.   Find an experienced FDA Compliant Nutrition Label expert who can ensure compliance and will explain the process to you.

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