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What Are the Labeling Requirements for an Artificially Flavored Food?

June 2, 2011
Question 

The label of a small packaged cake currently reads "GOLDS CAKES" with the word "Vanilla" above Gold Cakes (smaller than Golds Cakes). On the back of the package, under nutritionals, it lists artificial and natural flavor. Does the word "Vanilla" on the front of the package need to be supplemented to include "artificial and natural flavor," and do those words need to be the same size as Vanilla?

Answer 

The regulation on labeling flavors in food is administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can be found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Section 101.22. The regulation specifies that if a product's label makes a prominent representation with respect to a primary recognizable flavor, then that flavor is deemed to be a "characterizing flavor" and must be declared on the principle display panel (PDP). The form of the declaration depends on many factors. For example, if the product contains any artificial flavor that simulates, resembles, or reinforces the characterizing flavor, the name of the food on the PDP must be accompanied by the name of the characterizing flavor with the words "artificial" or "artificially flavored," in letters not less than one-half the height of the letters in the name of the characterizing flavor. We recommend that you consult an attorney to determine the requirements for your specific product.