Status of nutrition labeling, health claims, and nutrient content claims for processed foods: 1997 Food Label and Package Survey

J Am Diet Assoc. 2000 Sep;100(9):1057-62. doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(00)00308-4.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducts studies of food labels as part of its ongoing monitoring of the nutritional status of the US population. In 1994 FDA nutrition labeling rules were implemented and in 1997 the Food Label and Package Survey characterized various aspects of the labeling of processed, packaged foods, including nutrition labeling, health claims, and nutrient content claims. For the survey, FDA selected a multistage, representative sample of food products from the SCAN-TRACK food sales database (AC Nielsen Co, Schaumburg, Ill). FDA identified 58 product groups and selected those product classes from the database that accounted for 80% of sales in each group. From each product class, FDA selected the 3 top-selling product brands and randomly selected follower brands. Based on label information from a final sample of 1,267 food products, FDA determined the percentage of products sold that bear Nutrition Facts labels, health claims, and nutrient content claims. The purpose of this article was to present FDA findings regarding the status of food labels 3 years after implementation of the nutrition labeling rules. Nutrition-labeled products accounted for an estimated 96.5% of the annual sales of processed, packaged foods. An additional 3.4% of products sold were exempt from labeling regulations. Nutrient content claims and health claims appeared on an estimated 39% and 4%, respectively, of the products sold. Dietitians and other health care professionals can use this survey information to identify food types with specific label information and to assist the US consumer in making more varied and healthful food choices in the marketplace.

MeSH terms

  • Food Labeling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Food, Organic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Food-Processing Industry* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Nutritive Value
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration*