L is for Labels and Nutrient Claims



L | Labels and Nutrient Claims

by Lindsey Herr


  • “No antibiotics” or “raised without antibiotics”

  • This term is only used on red meat, poultry and egg packages.

  • Producers must provide documentation indicating the animal was raised without the use of antibiotics in order to add the “no antibiotics” label.

  • Milk from cows treated with antibiotics cannot be sold, so milk products should never display the “no antibiotics” claim.


  • Low-calorie: 40 calories or less per serving


  • Low-cholesterol: 20 milligrams or less per serving and only when a food contains 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving


  • Low-fat: 3 grams or less per serving

  • Low-saturated fat: 1 gram or less per serving, with no more than 15 percent of calories coming from saturated fat

  • Fat free: Less than 0.5 g fat and fat is not an ingredient


  • High fiber or excellent source of fiber: 20% or more of the Daily Value (DV) for fiber

  • Good source of fiber: 10-19% of the Daily Value (DV) for fiber


  • Gluten-free: a food comprised of less than 20 parts per million of gluten. This rule also applies to the terms “no gluten,” “free of gluten” and “without gluten.”


  • “No hormones added”

  • Pigs and egg-laying hens are prohibited from receiving hormones; therefore, “no hormones added” cannot be displayed on pork and poultry products, unless it is followed by “federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”

  • May appear on a beef label if the producer can demonstrate that no hormones were used to raise the cattle.


  • Light/Lite: At least 50% less fat than the regular product (or 1/3 fewer calories if less than 50% of calories are from fat)


  • “Natural”: The FDA temporarily definesnatural as having nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives) added to the food.

    • Not intended to address pesticides, food manufacturing techniques such as pasteurization, or the nutritional value.


  • “100 percent organic”

    • Contains 100% organic ingredients.

    • The principal display panel may carry the USDA organic seal or “100 percent organic” claim.

  • “Organic”

    • Any product that contains a minimum of 95 percent organic ingredients.

    • Up to 5 percent of the ingredients may be non-organic products that are not commercially available as organic.

  • “Made with organic ___”

    • Used on a product that contains at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients.

    • These products may state “made with organic ___” on the principal display panel and list up to three ingredients or ingredient categories.
    • They cannot bear the USDA organic seal.
  • Less than 70 percent organic ingredients

    • May list organic ingredients on the information panel.

    • These foods cannot display the USDA organic seal or the word “organic” anywhere on the principal display panel.


  • Low-sodium: 140 milligrams or less per serving

  • Very low sodium: 35 milligrams or less per serving

  • Reduced or less sodium: At least 25% less sodium than the regular product


  • Sugar-free: A food that has less than 0.5 grams of sugars per serving

  • Reduced sugar or less sugar: At least 25% less sugars than the regular product

  • No added sugar: No sugar or sugar-containing ingredient added during processing or packaging


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