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Home > Food from Farm to Table > Food Safety > Food Product Basic Label Requirements

Food Product Basic Label Requirements

What products need a label?

All prepackaged food products offered for customer self-service.

What is a proper food label?

In general, a label must have two parts. The first part is called the Principal Display Panel and the second part is called the Information Panel.

Principal Display Panel

This is the part of the label that is most likely to be viewed. The following information is required on the principal display panel:

  1. The common, usual or fanciful product identity.
  2. Net quantity of contents placed on the lower 30% of the Principal Display Panel.

Information Panel This is the part of the package that is immediately to the right of the Principal Display Panel. The information panel would contain required information that is not included on the Principal Display Panel. The following information is required either on the Principal Display Panel or the information panel.

  1. List of ingredients (In descending order by predominance of weight.)
  2. Name and address of manufacturer, packer, or distributor.
  3. Nutritional Facts (There are some exceptions for small retailers.)
  4. An expiration date is required for most perishable food products. Exceptions include meat, seafood, poultry, and produce.

Nutritional Facts Labeling

A food label, in most cases, will also be required to have nutritional facts labeling. Retail food establishments that prepare or nutritionally alter a product on premises are exempt from nutritional labeling unless a nutritional or health claim is made.

What resource materials are available to aid in the development of a legal food product label?

  1. State Statutes and Rules for specific foods.
  2. FDA Food Labeling Guide.
  3. Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations. This is the regulatory reference.
  4. Food Labeling for Retail Food Establishments (PDF)

For Further Information Contact

Your area state or local inspector:

  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture
    Dairy & Food Inspection Division
    625 Robert Street North
    Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155-2538
    Phone: 651-201-6622 | Fax: 651-201-6119
  • Division of Programs & Enforcement Policy HFS-155:
    Office of Food Labeling
    Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
    Food and Drug Administration
    200 C Street SW
    Washington, DC 20204

MDA Contact

Dairy & Food Inspection Division