Nutrition Labeling Using a Computer Program
The 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act mandated nutritional labeling of most foods. As a result, a large portion of food analysis is performed for nutritional labeling purposes. A food labeling guide and links to the complete nutritional labeling regulations are available online at http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/∼dms/flg-toc.html. However, interpretation of these regulations and the appropriate usage of rounding rules, available nutrient content claims, reference amounts, and serving size can be difficult.
Additionally, during the product development process, the effect of formulation changes on the nutritional label may be important. As an example, a small change in the amount of an ingredient may determine if a product can be labeled low fat. As a result, the ability to immediately approximate how a formulation change will impact the nutritional label can be valuable. In some cases, the opposite situation may occur and a concept called reverse engineering is used. In reverse engineering, the information from the nutritional label is used to determine a formula for the product. Caution must be used during reverse engineering. In most cases, only an approximate formula can be obtained and additional information not provided by the nutritional label may be necessary.