Are You Exempt from FDA Labeling Regulations?

Pay attention if almost every time you serve your secret recipe it’s accompanied by the refrains of “You need to sell this! You could make a bundle!”  Turning your cooking talents into a business may be easier than you think because the FDA has nutrition-labeling loopholes for small businesses.


Here’s a high-level overview.

You need to use nutrition labels when:

  • You make any kind of nutrition claim like low-fat or gluten-free.
  • You or anyone who sells your product sells more than $50,000 worth of food or more than $500,000 in total sales. That means if you’re spending Saturday morning selling your cookies at the local farmers’ market, you’ll be probably be fine. But don’t let them land on the shelves of Wal-Mart without proper labeling.
  • You import foods.

You’re exempt from nutritional labels when:

  • You have fewer than 10 full-time employees.
  • You sell fewer than 10,000 units annually. (A unit is whatever form your product takes when it’s sold to consumers. So if you sell a cookies five to a package, the package is one unit.)
  • You sell foods (like tea and coffee) that contain none of the ingredients on the FDA nutrition label, such as fat, cholesterol or protein.
  • You sell raw fruits, vegetables and fish.

You’re exempt, but you need to file for exemption annually when:

  • You have 90 to 100 full-time employees.
  • You sell more than 100,000 units every year.

If you’re serious about making it big with that secret recipe, it would be worth your time to review the FDA’s small-business nutrition labeling information for more details.  Also, you may want to eventually add nutritional information regardless to let your customers know precisely what they’re getting.

Remember, even though you don’t have to worry about nutrition labeling, your label will still be required to include other mandatory information such as statement of identity, net quantity of contents, an ingredient statement, and the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor.

If you have any questions at all about food-package labeling, contact us at 1-800-241-9730 or  We would be happy to guide you in the right direction. You also may want to check out this blog: 7 Ways Food Labels Are Changing, Here’s What Small Business Owners Need to Know to Stay FDA Compliant.