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Can Percentages be Rounded in Relative Nutrient Content Claims?

July 24, 2020
Question 

When putting a Less Carb claim on a primary display panel using percentage, can one round up and by how much? For example, if a product has 45.5% less carbs, can it be labeled 46% less? Or, can we say Half the Carbs? 

Answer 

A “less carb” claim would be considered a relative nutrient content claim because it compares the level of a nutrient in one food to the level of that nutrient in another food. FDA discusses requirements for relative nutrient content claims in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Section 101.13(j)). There are a number of requirements for making relative claims, such as the types of foods that can be compared, the wording that can be used, placement of the claim on the label, and the amounts of the nutrients being compared are determined. You must also consider, however, that all nutrient content claims must be defined by FDA and FDA has not yet defined carbohydrate nutrient content claims.

With respect to rounding , FDA has stated, “The agency would not consider a claim to be misleading if the declaration of the difference in absolute amount of nutrient between the foods were rounded off in conformance with the rounding provisions for nutrition labeling in Section 101.9” (See 58 Federal Register 3245 and 2350 (Jan. 6, 1993).)

We recommend that you consult legal counsel to determine your specific legal obligations.