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Due to the growing number of unhealthy food and lifestyle choices, superfoods are becoming an essential part of a person's diet. However, with our busy lives and work schedules, it is difficult to find time to go to the market and buy all the superfoods we need to eat to remain healthy. This is why dietary supplements have become a practical alternative to superfoods. Clearly, supplements are way easier to buy and take.

Because of this, businesses have been looking at dietary supplements as good products to sell and profit from. In doing this, however, there are several factors that need to be taken into account. One of them is proper labeling, which comes with a number of requirements and restrictions.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the body assigned by the government to regulate food, drugs, and cosmetics sold in the United States. It ensures that these items are safe and properly labeled for transparency purposes.

Dietary supplements are products intended to contribute to a person's health by remedying deficiencies in his/her diet. They may contain one or more vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, concentrates, metabolites, constituents, and extracts. Dietary supplements are mainly for ingestion. They are not to be treated as regular food or a sole meal or diet item. They are also labeled as dietary supplements just to make clear what they are intended to do for their users.

Dietary supplements are covered by the FDA's jurisdiction and are governed mainly by two federal laws, namely the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. All kinds of food, including dietary supplements, should comply with the FDA's required specifications.

Required Label Statements The FDA requires dietary supplements to have five label statements on their containers and packages. They are the following:

1. Statement of Identity

This refers to the name of the dietary supplement. More specifically, it is the name specified by federal law or regulation. If no name is specified, the common name of the supplement should be used. If the nature of the food is not common or obvious, the statement should be an appropriately descriptive term.

The FDA also specifies that the statement of identity has to include the term "dietary supplement". The word "dietary" may be replaced with a term of the ingredient found in the product.

This must be displayed on the principal display panel and on any alternate principal display panels.

This should not be confused with brand names for they are not considered statements of identity and, thus, should not be more prominently displayed than the statement of identity.

2. Net quantity of contents statement

This refers to the net weight of the dietary supplement. Take note that it should not include the weight of the container, wrapper, or packing.

The statement has to be distinct and must be placed in the lower 30 percent of the principal display panel. The net weight should also be displayed in both metric and U.S. Customary System terms.

3. Nutrition Labeling

The term given to the nutrition label for a dietary supplement is "Supplement Facts". Note that there are several differences between this and "Nutrition Facts". The overview of their differences can be viewed on the FDA website.

This panel should include the names and quantities of the dietary ingredients present in the product, the serving size, and the servings per container.

However, if the "Servings per Container" is the same as in the net quantity of contents statement, then such listing is not required.

4. Ingredient List

The ingredients refer to the compounds present in the dietary supplement. They also refer to substances such as binders, colors, excipients, fillers, flavors, and sweeteners.

Ingredients that are also sources of dietary ingredients may be included within the "Supplement Facts" panel. If so, they do not have to be listed again in the ingredient statement.

The ingredient list should be placed immediately below the nutrition label. If there is insufficient space below the nutrition label, then it should be listed contiguous and to the right of the nutrition label. It should also be displayed prominently and conspicuously.

The ingredients have to be listed in descending order of predominance by weight. The ingredient with the most weight should be listed first and the least weight last.

5. Name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor

This refers to the street address, city or town, the state, and the zip code of the place of business.

Principal Display Panel

The principal display panel is the part of the package that is most likely to be seen by consumers during the time of display for purchase. If a container has two or more different surfaces that can be used as the principal display panel, they are called alternate principal display panels.

This panel should contain the statement of identity and the net quantity of contents statement. If packages have alternate principal display panels, then this information should also be displayed on each alternate panel.

Information Panel

The information panel is located to the right of the principal display panel as the product is displayed to the consumer. If the panel is not usable due to package design, the panel immediately contiguous and to the right of may be used for the information panel. Moreover, the information panel may be any adjacent panel if the principal display panel is the top of the container.

Health Claims

A health claim is a characterization of a relationship between a substance and a disease or a health-related condition. This can be either explicit or implied. More importantly, this claim requires significant scientific agreement and needs to be authorized by the FDA.

To be more specific, a health claim describes the effect of a substance on reducing the risk of or preventing a disease. An FDA evaluation and authorization is required before a health claim is allowed to be used.

A list of FDA authorized health claims can be found on the FDA website, specifically Appendix E of the Dietary Supplement Labeling Guide.

Qualified Health Claims

A qualified health claim is a type of health claim supported by less scientific evidence than an authorized health claim. The FDA requires that qualified health claims be accompanied by a disclaimer explaining the level of scientific evidence supporting the claim.

The benefits of superfoods are now accessible through dietary supplements. They have now made healthy lifestyles less burdensome and more practical. If you wish to contribute to this healthy culture by entering the dietary supplement business, one crucial step will be complying with FDA guidelines on proper labeling.

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