FDA Targets Sugar Recommendations, Continues Moving Towards Revised Food & Beverage Label Requirements

At the end of July, the FDA issued a comment period related to individual food and beverage packaging labels, this time specific to sugar.  While sugar is already listed on food and beverage packaging, unlike other ingredients, it is not tied to an index based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet.

When the food and beverage packaging labeling are revised and finalized by the FDA, we believe that the amount of sugar recommended per day will be included.  The notice issued by the FDA for sugar is the first formal step in this regard, with a 75-day comment period that began at the Agency on July 27th.

Anticipated Compliance Date for Broader Food and Beverage Labeling – January 1, 2018

The FDA has stated that industry will need to be compliant of any regulations regarding food and beverage labeling finalized in 2015 or 2016, by January 1, 2018.

While the nutritional labeling has not yet been officially “finalized”, it is very likely to be so by the end of 2016.  Many in the industry are anticipating a final rule/decision on nutritional labeling by March 2016.

As drafted and issued by the FDA, the below image captures the latest proposal for changes to current labeling requirements.  Please note, while this image does not reference the “percentage” of sugar recommended, we anticipate that will be included in the final version.

FDA Image

If your company is interested in providing comments to the FDA on this and other proposed labeling requirements, please click here.

In addition the U.S. FDA, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a web-tool kit for industry, so companies may ensure they are in compliance with all labeling for food and beverage products.  The Tool Kit breakdowns industry labeling requirements by category, and also provides information on “health” and other claims that may be legally permitted on products.

Source – TLMI

Food & Beverage Labeling Activity in DC

The most significant activity regarding food and beverage labeling occurred in the U.S. House of Representatives, with the House passing H.R. 1599, by a 275 to 150 margin. As highlighted in the state report, the legislation would not prevent companies from voluntarily labeling their food products as GMO-free, but would prohibit companies from being required to label that their food products contain GMOs. The legislation is now in the Senate Agriculture Committee, awaiting further debate and consideration.

Passage of this bill in the Senate will be much more difficult. Opponents of the legislation are making two cases against it. First, that the consumer needs to know if GMOs are in their food products, and that sates should be free to establish their own requirements with respect to food labeling laws. Consumer rights advocacy groups, as well as business-based coalitions have also stepped up ad and PR campaigns promoting their positions on the issue.

The Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to hold hearings on the legislation this fall. In addition, 15 states are currently considering some form of GMO labeling for food. We anticipate that of the state legislatures scheduled to reconvene this fall, many will continue to consider bills pertaining to GMOs.

Source – TLMI

Final Ruling on Labeling of Added Solutions in Raw Meat & Poultry

On December 31, 2014, the Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a final rule requiring the use of descriptive designations as part of the product name on labels for raw meat and poultry products that contain added solutions and do not meet a “standard of identity”.  The descriptive designation must include the percentage of added solution as well as the individual ingredients or multi-ingredient components in the solution listed in descending order of predominance by weight.  FSIS is now prohibiting the use of the term “enhanced” in the product name, including the descriptive designation.  FSIS states in the ruling that in addition to “contains” or “containing”, the terms “for flavor”, “flavored with”, “basted” or “marinated” may be used.

The print for all words in the product name, including in the descriptive designation, must appear in a single “easy to read” type style and color on a single color contrasting background.  The print may appear in upper and lowercase type, with lower case letters not smaller than 1/3 the size of the largest letter.  The percent solution must appear as a number with the percentage sign (e.g. 20%) and may be declared with the word “containing” or “contains” among other terms specified in the compliance document.  The word “enhanced” is not permitted in the product name.  FSIS is also removing the standard of identity regulation for “ready to cook poultry products to which solutions are added”.  (Reference 9 CFR 381.169)

The ruling occurred in response to petitions from the public and encompassed passed experience in label reviews.  The ruling will impact both retail stores and official establishments.  General compliance date is January 1, 2016 although a separate date of January 1, 2018 has been set for the requirement that lower case letters not be smaller than 1/3 the size of the largest letter in the product name or descriptive designation.

The product name and the descriptive designation must be printed in a single “easy to read” type style and color and must appear on a single color contrasting background.  Upper and lowercase letters may be used for the product name and descriptive designation, however lowercase letters cannot be smaller than 1/3 the size of the largest letter.

The percentage of the added solution is the total weight of the solution ingredients divided by the weight of the raw protein (meat, poultry) without solution or any other added ingredients multiplied by 100.  The percentage of solution must appear as a number (such as 20, 25, 30) and the percent symbol “%”.

The rule applies to raw meat and poultry products containing added solutions.  This ruling INCLUDES MARINADES.  Meat and poultry products marinated in a retail establishment must be labeled or identified with signage in accordance with the rule.  FSIS has stated that retail signage for these products is covered by the regulation (example a sign posted near unpackaged product in a display case).  Retailers will be required to determine marinade absorption rates.  Meat and poultry products containing added solutions that are labeled by retailers must comply with the requirements of the regulation.

When the descriptive designation includes all ingredients in the solution, a separate ingredients statement is not required.  When the descriptive designation includes multi ingredient components and the ingredients of the components are not declared in the descriptive designation all ingredients in the product must be declared in a separate ingredients statement on the label.

In cases where existing labels are altered to comply with the new ruling, resubmission for approval may not be required.  FSIS published a final rule on November 7, 2013 that expanded the circumstances in which FSIS generically approves meat and poultry labels.  Labels for these products containing added solutions can be generically approved provided they display all mandatory features in a prominent manner in compliance with the regulations and are not otherwise false or misleading.

You can follow the USDA changes and other helpful information on twitter at this link.

Sample Label

FDA proposing changes to the Nutrition Facts on food labeling

FDA is proposing to update the Nutrition Facts label on food packages to reflect new public health and scientific information, including evidence on nutrition, obesity and chronic disease. As part of the proposed updates, serving size requirements would be updated to reflect the amounts of food people are actually eating and drinking now as opposed to 20 years ago when the Nutrition Facts label was first introduced. In addition, the format of the label would be refreshed, with key parts of the label such as calories, serving sizes, and percent daily value more prominent.

The proposed changes reflect new dietary recommendations, consensus reports and national survey data and reflect input obtained through four advance notices of proposed rulemaking and numerous citizens’ petitions.  The proposed rules, which are published in the Federal Register, are open for comment for 90 days. FDA is proposing a compliance date of two years after the effective date for any final rule resulting from these proposed rules.

FDA is also proposing some corresponding updates to the Supplement Facts label on dietary supplements, including changes to daily values and units of measure.

SpectraGraphics Inc. is dedicated to helping our client’s stay ahead of these new regulations, please contact us for help in keeping your labels in compliance with all the new rule changes.

For more information on the FDA changes visit the link below:


Frozen Food Packaging Adhesives

graphics labels

Choosing the correct label and adhesive combination can be tricky, finding one that works in freezing application and service temperatures can be even more complex. Some tips that can help:

– Freezer and cold temperature adhesives are not the same. It’s critical to have a good understanding of application and service temperatures, moisture levels and substrates that labels will be applied to. A good freezer adhesive will not only have a low application temperature, it should be able to withstand frost, moisture and blast freezer environments.

– Conditions requiring good initial tack and ultimate adhesion when being applied in freezer conditions are ideal for freezer grade adhesives. They are also well suited for room temperature application followed by blast freezer conditions.

– Freezer grade adhesives are very soft allowing them to to function well in frozen environments. This “softness” makes them tougher to die cut and more prone to “ooze” at room temperature. These factors can increase costs to convert. When you don’t require a freezer grade, move to cold temperature grades which reduce these issues.

– Blast or flash freezing is typically used on vegetables, entrees and fruit due to it’s speed and for cosmetic purposes. It produces fewer ice crystals inside the package which customers may find unattractive. For blast or flash freezing applications cold temperature adhesives may not work, even if the initial application temperature is above freezing.

– As with any label application, test for other elements that may impact performance. These include substrates, dispensing, moisture and environmental conditions and other factors that the label may encounter. In other words, don’t just focus on the temperatures involved.

Contact a member of the SpectraGraphics Team for more information on choosing the correct adhesive for your product. We’re here to help!

TerraSkin Eco Friendly Labels – Osmia Organics

Recently a new client, Osmia Organics, approached SpectraGraphics seeking an Eco Friendly label solution for a series of new product lines.  Dedicated to using earth friendly packaging whenever possible, Osmia is an incredible example of a company searching the globe for “green” products.  The traditional issues surrounding Eco Friendly papers and films were once again encountered.  High minimums and costs from pressure sensitive roll suppliers on these materials make it very difficult for start up businesses to use them economically.

Osmia was seeking not only a green material, but wanted a very professional matte finished look for their labels.  After a lengthy search and testing period TerraSkin film was selected for use.  TerraSkin, www.terraskin.com, is a tree-free, water-free material made from rock and non-toxic resins.  It will biodegrade under normal temperature, uv light and moisture conditions.  It also has a beautiful matte white appearance and is ideal for printing both flexographically and digitally once top coated.

We are very pleased to offer this new film as an Eco Friendly label option for use under almost any conditions, visit ecofriendlylabels for more information.  Osmia Organics is growing rapidly and provides a shining example of a successful business launch due to an owner’s commitment to organic product components and sustainable packaging.  You can find out much more about Osmia’s product line offerings and their company story by visiting their web site at www.osmiaorganics.com

promotional products

People Before Profit

Bob’s Red Mill has been, and continues to be one of SpectraGraphics’s most valued and long term clients.  Despite multiple offers founder Bob Moore recently gave his $100 million company to his employees to continue on with his legacy.  Bob is much more than a client to many of us here at SGI, he is a friend, an inspiration and an ideal image of what American businessmen can and should be.

In an era of corporate greed and global recession Bob Moore is a shining example of what’s right about America.  He has recently released his autobiography “People Before Profit – The Inspiring Story of the Founder of Bob’s Red Mill”.  We strongly encourage anyone managing a company to read it, and live it.  It’s available on Amazon in both electronic format and hard copy, the link is below.

Our sincerest thanks and best wishes to Bob and his wife Charlee, and to all the employees of Bob’s Red Mill for a bright future.



SpectraGraphics Adds New Performance Series Press

We are very pleased to announce that SpectraGraphics has added a new state of the art Mark Andy P5 series flexographic printing press.  The new unit combines cutting edge drying technology with quick change over and auto registration print stations.  Incredibly fast speeds are now achievable for long runs, combined with fast copy changes, enhanced quality and reduced scrap rates for overall cost reduction.

This equipment has an impact in other areas as well.  The increased capacity in both web width and speed results in reduced lead times and lowered set up costs on other equipment, such as that utilized for expanded content products.  We are now branching in to other printed market segments such as unsupported films for continuous labeling and pouches.

Please contact us for more details, we look forward to helping you grow your business!

promotional products

SpectraGraphics Sponsors Shawnee Mission Head Start Family

promotional products

The SpectraGraphics family was very proud to be 2011 sponsors for a Shawnee Mission Head Start Family.  The program’s mission is “to provide quality early childhood and comprehensive child and family services, which empower low-income families and their children to maximize their success.”  Eligible families have an annual household income of under $18,000 despite full time employment, so our gifts of clothing, toys, food and everyday products were greatly appreciated.  It’s easy to over look the fact that some families live without the means to cover basic human needs, especially over the holiday season.

If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring this very worthwhile organization please visit www.smks-headstart.org


Children’s Mercy Red Hot Nights

SpectraGraphics Inc. is proud to once again be a sponsor of the Children’s Mercy Hospitals “Red Hot Nights” event.  The annual fundraising event surpassed it’s goal of $1,000,000 this year benefiting the new east facility.  Children’s Mercy hospitals and clinics provide some of the best care in the nation to children and their families in need, and the new facility brings this care closer to home for many families in eastern Jackson County MO.

graphics labels

We are very pleased with this year’s turnout and contributions, our sincerest thanks to those clients that attended the event and donated to such a great cause!

If you would like more information of this annual event please visit