High in Vitamin A. Excellent source of Calcium. Low in Sodium. It’s nearly impossible to find a food label that doesn’t display a nutrient content claim. So what exactly is a nutrient content claim?
Nutrient content claims characterize the value of a vitamin or mineral in a food, as defined by the Food Drug Administration (FDA). To better understand these claims and their use, read our five facts below!
Fact #1: The Food Drug Administration (FDA) has a published set of specific regulations regarding nutrient content claims. The general guidance can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 101.13 Nutrient Content Claims. Statements that fall under this regulation include expressed nutrient content claims (low sodium), descriptions of the absence or presence of an ingredient in a certain amount (high in oat bran) or suggestions that a food item may help someone maintain healthy dietary practices (healthy).
Fact #2: Nutrient content claims are approved for use on all food products, except those intended for children and infants who are under two years old. Baby foods and formulas have their own, separate regulations.
Fact #3: Nutrient content claims are allowed to be placed on food labels for the following nutrients:
- total calories
- total fat
- saturated fat
- dietary fiber
- vitamin A
- vitamin C
- vitamin D
- vitamin E
- vitamin K
- vitamin B6
- vitamin B12
- pantothenic acid
- ALA & DHA omega-3 fatty acids
Fact #4: The different types of nutrient content claims include absolute claims, relative claims, and implied claims. Absolute claims describe the nutrient level in a food. For example, if a reference amount of a food (such as serving size) contains 20% or more of a single nutrient, it is considered to be “high” in the nutrient. The claim, “High in Vitamin A” is an absolute claim.
A relative claim compares the nutrient value of one food to that of another food. An example of a relative claim would be when a food product contains 25% “less” of a nutrient when compared to a similar food product. If a package says, “25% less sodium than regular potato chips,” it is considered a relative claim.
Implied claims are used when a supplier, manufacturer or retailer wants to imply the presence or absence of a nutrient. An example would be “a good source of oat bran,” which implies the food is high in fiber.
Fact #5: The implied nutrient content claim, “healthy” can be found on many food labels. The FDA recently asked for comments from the industry about redefining what is considered “healthy” due to more research about the benefits of some types of fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The FDA has yet to release the new definition for healthy.
Placing nutrient content claims on your label can be an effective way to market your product to consumers. If you want to determine which nutrient content claims your food products satisfy or need to verify that your existing nutrient content claims are in compliance with the FDA guidelines, Mérieux NutriSciences can help. Our Regulatory Compliance Food Labeling experts will ensure your food label is compliant and your product is ready to hit the shelves.
Meet the Author
Sophie Plummer, RD
Associate Nutrition Program Manager, Mérieux NutriSciences
Sophie Plummer is the Associate Nutrition Program Manager at Mérieux NutriSciences. She received her Bachelor of Sciences in Applied Health Science, Dietetics from Indiana University. Sophie received her MBA from Dominican University. In her free time, she enjoys cooking for friends and family as well as playing with her goldendoodle.