Even natural, perishable foods need to undertake rigorous food labeling when it is sold to consumers through grocery stores, markets, and other retail operations. Even if is obvious that the ingredient is a banana or an apple, there are some things to consider when it comes to food labeling on fruit. Here we’ve gathered five key points below that related to labeling on this specialized type of food product:
- Country of origin labeling: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that those companies that are shipping tree fruit, such as apples, bananas, and oranges, as well as those fruits that are sold in clam shell packaging like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries list the country of origin for that fruit. This needs to be listed on the adhesive label or printed directly on the plastic bag or container that the fruit comes in for shipment and sale.
- Post harvest pesticide information: Fruit from certain areas my need to list the post-harvest pesticide information, but this is usually for fruit that is sold in smaller or individual quantities versus those that come as part of bulk orders or even within gift packs of various fruit.
- Nutritional information: Believe it or not, nutritional information is still important but not necessarily a food labeling mandate by the federal government. While it is voluntary, it is still something to think about when it comes to labels for fruit. If it is used, it must comply with the FDA regulations for covering all specific nutritional data.
- Retail packaging: If fruit is to be sold in the retail format, such as in bags, containers, or clamshell packaging, it needs to have the name of the product, information on the packer or the distributor, the net weight and an ingredient statement. The information must be listed clearly and often dictated by certain size requirements described by the FDA. There is no need to list post-harvest chemicals on these types of packages, but it may have to be included in the bulk shipping package that these retail packs came in.
- Bulk packaging: Despite coming in one big container, this type of fruit also has labeling requirements to consider. These include the need to label the containers with the shipper’s name and address, the net weight of the fruit, the type of fruit and any type of post harvest food additives or post harvest pesticides that the fruit may contain. The information must have this information displayed in a prominent way as part of a label so that it is easily readable and can e recorded as it arrives.
Here is a summary of the five things to consider when it comes to food labeling on fruit:
- The country of origin for the fruit is a must that must be on both retail and bulk fruit packaging.
- There are varied requirements when it comes to post harvest pesticide information on fruit labels.
- Nutritional information is voluntary can be important.
- There are specific labeling instructions for retail versus bulk packaging for fruit.