If you’re a Minnesota food manager who works at a facility that prepares ready-to-eat foods for retail sale or creates food items consumers will purchase and cook at home, you should be aware of the proper procedures for labeling your packaged products. The Minnesota food code has a few labeling requirements for prepackaged foods that must be adhered to.
Packaged Product Labeling for Minnesota Food Managers
Prepared foods packaged for retail sale require labels that alert purchasers of the contents inside the package. These labels are required to protect consumers and help them make nutrition judgments about the foods they consider purchasing. Some key elements you must print on your label include:
- Identity or name of product
- Net quantity of contents
- Ingredient list
- List of major food allergens
- Name and address of producer
- Nutritional information
All of these items must be clearly labeled. Your potential customers should understand exactly what it is they are buying, how much is included in the package and what ingredients are included in the food product. Not only are these details informative to the consumer, they’ll actually help you sell and market your product. If you can’t adequately identify the contents of your product, how’s the general public going to identify what they’re purchasing? Misleading or confusing labels may cause potential customers to choose a different product.
Beyond ingredients, you must clearly identify major allergens. This is a must. Not only must you list allergens in your product, you should do so in a clear manner where those afflicted with allergies will clearly see if there are any ingredients they cannot consume. We suggest listing allergens in your ingredient list as well as including a clearly visible second list of allergens and potential allergens your product may have come in contact with. The allergens that must be listed are:
- Milk and dairy
- Tree nuts
- Wheat and flour
Depending on the size of your business, you may also be required to post nutritional information on your label. Some products packaged by small businesses may be exempt. For more information on exemptions, check out the FDA guidelines for nutritional fact labeling exemptions.
Finally, food managers must include the name and address of your business on the labeling of packaged products. This not only helps customers recognize your brand name so they can purchase your product again, but it’s also required to identify the source of contamination in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak.
Are you a Minnesota food manager that specializes in retail sales? If so, what food safety topic would you like to see us pay closer attention to?