Your Right to Know - Making Sense of Food Labeling

Know Your Way Around a Label

There are two key areas included on a food label: (1) the principal display panel; and (2) the information panel. (See example at right.)

(1) Principal Display Panel13
The principal display panel is the part of the label that is typically displayed and visible to the consumer while the product is sitting on the shelf. This is the part of the label that the consumer will first see when looking at a product, which makes it very important to the manufacturer. The following information is required to be on the principal display panel:

  • A. The “statement of identity”, or name of the food14
  • B. Net quantity or amount of the product included in the package15

(2) Information Panel16
The information panel is the part of the label that is to the right of the principal display panel or included on the back of the package. The information panel is typically identified by the easily recognizable nutrition facts box, which contains caloric and nutritional information. The following information is required to be on a food label and is typically found on the information panel:

  • C. Nutrition Facts17
  • D. Ingredients18
  • E. Name and address of manufacturer, packer or distributor19
  • F. Allergen information20