s 317.2 Labels: definition; required features.


Published: 2021-01-31

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Agriculture and Markets Law, § 96-z-34

(a) A label within the meaning of this Part shall mean a display of any printing, lithographing, embossing, stickers, seals, or other written, printed or graphic matter upon the immediate container (not including package liners) of any product.

(b) Any word, statement, or other information required by this Part to appear on the label must be prominently placed thereon with such conspicuousness (as compared with other words, statements, designs, or devices, in the labeling) and in such terms as to render it likely to be read and understood by the ordinary individual under customary conditions of purchase and use. In order to meet this requirement, such information must appear on the principal display panel except as otherwise permitted in this Part. All words, statements, and other information required by or under authority of the Agriculture and Markets Law to appear on the label or labeling shall appear thereon in the English language.

(c) Labels of all products shall show the following information on the principal display panel (except as otherwise permitted in this Part), in accordance with the requirements of this Part or, if applicable, Part 319 of this Article:

(1) The name of the product, which in the case of a product which purports to be or is represented as a product for which a definition and standard of identity or composition is prescribed in Part 319 of this Article, shall be the name of the food specified in the standard, and in the case of any other product shall be the common or usual name of the food, if any there be, and if there is none, a truthful descriptive designation, as prescribed in subdivision (e) of this section;

(2) If the product is fabricated from two or more ingredients, the word “ingredients” followed by a list of the ingredients as prescribed in subdivision (f) of this section;

(3) The name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor for whom the product is prepared, as prescribed in subdivision (g) of this section;

(4) An accurate statement of the net quantity of contents, as prescribed in subdivision (h) of this section;

(5) An official inspection legend and, except as otherwise provided in subdivision (i) of this section, the number of the official establishment, in the form required by Part 312 of this Article; and

(6) Any other information required by the regulations in this Part or Part 319 of this Article.

(d) The principal display panel shall be the part of a label that is most likely to be displayed, presented, shown, or examined under customary conditions of display for sale. Where packages bear alternate principal display panels, information required to be placed on the principal display panel shall be duplicated on each principal display panel. The principal display panel shall be large enough to accommodate all the mandatory label information required to be placed thereon by this Part and Part 319 of this Article with clarity and conspicuousness and without obscuring of such information by designs or vignettes or crowding. In determining the area of the principal display panel, exclude tops, bottoms, flanges at tops and bottoms of cans, and shoulders and necks of bottles or jars. The principal display panel shall be:

(1) In the case of a rectangular package, one entire side, the area of which is at least the product of the height times the width of that side.

(2) In the case of a cylindrical or nearly cylindrical container:(i) an area that is 40 percent of the product of the height of the container times the circumference of the container, or(ii) a panel, the width of which is one third of the circumference and the height of which is as high as the container:provided, however, that if there is immediately to the right or left of such principal display panel, a panel which has a width not greater than 20 percent of the circumference and a height as high as the container, and which is reserved for information prescribed in paragraphs (c)(2), (3), and (5) of this section, such panel shall be known as the “20 percent panel” and such information may be shown on that panel in lieu of showing it on the principal display panel, as provided in paragraphs (f)(3), (g)(2), and (i)(8) and (9) of this section.

(i) an area that is 40 percent of the product of the height of the container times the circumference of the container, or

(ii) a panel, the width of which is one third of the circumference and the height of which is as high as the container:

provided, however, that if there is immediately to the right or left of such principal display panel, a panel which has a width not greater than 20 percent of the circumference and a height as high as the container, and which is reserved for information prescribed in paragraphs (c)(2), (3), and (5) of this section, such panel shall be known as the “20 percent panel” and such information may be shown on that panel in lieu of showing it on the principal display panel, as provided in paragraphs (f)(3), (g)(2), and (i)(8) and (9) of this section.

(3) In the case of a container of any other shape, 40 percent of the total surface of the container.

(e) Any descriptive designation used as a product name for a product which has no common or usual name shall clearly and completely identify the product. Product which has been prepared by salting, smoking, drying, cooking, chopping or otherwise shall be so described on the label unless the name of the product implies, or the manner of packaging shows that the product was subjected to such preparation. The unqualified terms “meat”, “meat by-product”, “meat food product”, and terms common to the meat industry but not common to consumers such as “picnic”, “butt”, “cala”, “square”, “loaf”, “spread”, “delight”, “roll”, “plate”, “luncheon” and “daisy” shall not be used as names of a product unless accompanied with terms descriptive of the product or with a list of ingredients, as deemed necessary in any specific case by the commissioner in order to assure that the label will not be false or misleading.

(1) The list of ingredients shall show the common or usual names of the ingredients arranged in the descending order of predominance, except as otherwise provided in this paragraph.(i) The term “flavorings” may be used to designate natural spices, essential oils, oleoresins and other natural spice extractives and the term “spices” may be used to designate natural spices, without naming each.(ii) The term “corn syrup” may be used to designate either corn syrup or corn syrup solids.(iii) The term “animal and vegetable fats” or “vegetable and animal fats” may be used to designate the ingredients of mixtures of such edible fats in product designated “compound” or “shortening”. “Animal fats” are used herein means fat derived from inspected and passed cattle, sheep, swine or goats.(iv) When a product is coated with pork fat, gelatin, or other approved substance and a specific declaration of such coating appears contiguous to the name of the product, the ingredient statement need not make reference to the ingredients of such coating.(v) When two meat ingredients comprise at least 70 percent of the meat and meat by-product ingredients of a formula and when neither of the two meat ingredients is less than 30 percent by weight of the total meat and meat by-products used, such meat ingredients may be interchanged in the formula without a change being made in the ingredients statement on labeling materials; provided, that the word “and” in lieu of a comma shall be shown between the declaration of such meat ingredients in the statement of ingredients.

(i) The term “flavorings” may be used to designate natural spices, essential oils, oleoresins and other natural spice extractives and the term “spices” may be used to designate natural spices, without naming each.

(ii) The term “corn syrup” may be used to designate either corn syrup or corn syrup solids.

(iii) The term “animal and vegetable fats” or “vegetable and animal fats” may be used to designate the ingredients of mixtures of such edible fats in product designated “compound” or “shortening”. “Animal fats” are used herein means fat derived from inspected and passed cattle, sheep, swine or goats.

(iv) When a product is coated with pork fat, gelatin, or other approved substance and a specific declaration of such coating appears contiguous to the name of the product, the ingredient statement need not make reference to the ingredients of such coating.

(v) When two meat ingredients comprise at least 70 percent of the meat and meat by-product ingredients of a formula and when neither of the two meat ingredients is less than 30 percent by weight of the total meat and meat by-products used, such meat ingredients may be interchanged in the formula without a change being made in the ingredients statement on labeling materials; provided, that the word “and” in lieu of a comma shall be shown between the declaration of such meat ingredients in the statement of ingredients.

(2) On containers of frozen dinners, entrees, pizzas, and similar consumer packaged products in cartons the ingredient statement may be placed on the front riser panel provided, that the words “see ingredients” followed immediately by an arrow is placed on the principal display panel immediately above the location of such statement without intervening print or designs.

(3) The ingredient statement may be placed on the 20 percent panel adjacent to the principal display panel and reserved for required information, in the case of a cylindrical or nearly cylindrical container.

(1) The name of the person that prepared the product or the name of the operator of the official establishment where the product is prepared by a subsidiary or tenant of the operator may appear as the name of the manufacturer or packer without qualification on the label. Otherwise the name of the distributor of the product shall be shown with a phrase such as “Prepared for ***” or “Distributed by ***”. The place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor shall be shown on the label by city, State, and postal zip code when such business is listed in a telephone or city directory; and if not listed in such directory then the place of business shall be shown by street address, city, State and postal zip code.

(2) The name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor may be shown:(i) On the principal display panel or(ii) On the 20 percent panel adjacent to the principal display panel and reserved for required information, in the case of a cylindrical or nearly cylindrical container, or(iii) On the front riser panel of frozen food cartons.

(i) On the principal display panel or

(ii) On the 20 percent panel adjacent to the principal display panel and reserved for required information, in the case of a cylindrical or nearly cylindrical container, or

(iii) On the front riser panel of frozen food cartons.

(1) The statement of net quantity of contents shall appear on the principal display panel of all containers to be sold at retail intact, in conspicuous and easily legible boldface print or type in distinct contrast to other matter on the package and shall be declared in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs (2) through (10) of this subdivision.

(2) The statement as it is shown on a label shall not be false or misleading and shall express an accurate statement of the quantity of contents of the container exclusive of wrappers and packing substances. Reasonable variations caused by loss or gain of moisture during the course of good distribution practices or by unavoidable deviations in good manufacturing practice will be recognized. Variations from stated quantity of contents shall not be unreasonably large.

(3) The statement shall be placed on the principal display panel within the bottom 30 percent of the area of the panel in lines generally parallel to the base: provided, that on packages having a principal display panel of five square inches or less, the requirement for placement within the bottom 30 percent of the area of the label panel shall not apply when the statement meets the other requirements of this subdivision. In any case, the statement may appear in more than one line. The terms “net weight” or “net wt.” shall be used when stating the net quantity of contents in terms of weight and the term “net contents” or “content” when stating the net quantity of contents in terms of fluid measure.

(4) Except as provided in section 317.7 the statement shall be expressed in terms of avoirdupois weight or liquid measure. Where no general consumer usage to the contrary exists, the statement shall be in terms of liquid measure, if the product is liquid, or in terms of weight if the product is solid, semisolid viscous or a mixture of solid and liquid. For example, a declaraton of three-quarter pound avoirdupois weight shall be expressed as “Net Wt. 12 oz.” except as provided for in paragraph (5) of this subdivision for random weight packages; a declaration of one and one-half pounds avoirdupois weight shall be expressed as “Net Wt. 24 oz. (1 lb. 8 oz.)”, “Net Wt. 24 oz. (1 ½ lb.)”, or “Net Wt. 24 oz. (1.5 lbs.)”.

(5) On packages containing one pound or one pint and less than four pounds or one gallon, the statement shall be expressed as a dual declaration both in ounces and (immediately thereafter in parenthesis) in pounds, with any remainder in terms of ounces or common or decimal fraction of the pound, or in the case of liquid measure, in the largest whole units with any remainder in terms of fluid ounces or common or decimal fractions of the pint or quart, except that on random weight packages the statement shall be expressed in terms of pounds and decimal fractions of the pound carried out to not more than two decimal places, for packages over one pound, and for packages which do not exceed one pound the statement may be in decimal fractions of the pound in lieu of ounces.

(6) The statement shall be in letters and numerals in type size established in relationship to the area of the principal display panel of the package and shall be uniform for all packages of substantially the same size by complying with the following type specifications:(i) Not less than one-sixteenth inch in height on packages, the principal display panel of which has an area of five square inches or less;(ii) Not less than one-eighth inch in height on packages, the principal display panel of which has an area of more than five but not more than 25 square inches;(iii) Not less than three-sixteenths inch in height on packages, the principal display panel of which has an area of more than 25 but not more than 100 square inches;(iv) Not less than one-quarter inch in height on packages, the principal display panel of which has an area of more than 100 but not more than 400 square inches;(v) Not less than one-half inch in height on packages, the principal display panel of which has an area of more than 400 square inches.

(i) Not less than one-sixteenth inch in height on packages, the principal display panel of which has an area of five square inches or less;

(ii) Not less than one-eighth inch in height on packages, the principal display panel of which has an area of more than five but not more than 25 square inches;

(iii) Not less than three-sixteenths inch in height on packages, the principal display panel of which has an area of more than 25 but not more than 100 square inches;

(iv) Not less than one-quarter inch in height on packages, the principal display panel of which has an area of more than 100 but not more than 400 square inches;

(v) Not less than one-half inch in height on packages, the principal display panel of which has an area of more than 400 square inches.

(7) The ratio of height to width of letters and numerals shall not exceed a differential of three units to one unit (no more than three times as high as it is wide). Heights pertain to upper case or capital letters. When upper and lower case or all lower case letters are used, it is the lower case letter “o” or its equivalent that shall meet the minimum standards. When fractions are used, each component numeral shall meet one-half the height standards.

(8) The statement shall appear as a distinct item on the principal display panel and shall be separated by a space at least equal to the height of the lettering used in the statement from other printed label information appearing above or below the statement and by a space at least equal to twice the width of the letter “N” of the style of type used in the quantity of contents statement from other printed label information appearing to the left or right of the statement. It shall not include any term qualifying a unit of weight, measure, or count such as, “jumbo quart”, “full gallon”, “giant quart”, “when packed”, “Minimum” or words of similar import.

(9) The following exemptions from the requirements contained in this subdivision (h) are hereby established:(i) Individually wrapped and labeled packages of less than one-half ounce net weight which are in a shipping container, need not bear a statement of net quantity of contents as specified in this subdivision (h) when the statement of net quantity of contents on the shipping container meets the requirements of this subdivision (h);(ii) Random weight consumer size packages bearing labels declaring net weight, price per pound, and total price, shall be exempt from the type size, dual declaration and placement requirements of this subdivision (h), if an accurate statement of net weight is shown conspicuously on the principal display panel of the package.(iii) Margarine in 1 pound rectangular packages (except packages containing whipped or soft margarine or packages that contain more than four sticks) is exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (3) and (5) of this subdivision (h) regarding the placement of the statement of the net quantity of contents within the bottom 30 percent of the principal display panel and that the statement be expressed both in ounces and in pounds, if the statement appears as “1 pound” or “one pound” in a conspicuous manner on the principal display panel.(iv) Sliced shingle packed bacon in rectangular packages containing eight ounces, one pound or two pounds exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (3) and (5) of this subdivision regarding the placement of the statement of the net quantity of contents within the bottom 30 percent of the principal display panel and that the statement be expressed both in ounces and in pounds if the statement appears as “8 oz.”, “½pound”, “1 pound”, “one pound”, “2 pounds” or “two pounds” as the case may be in a conspicuous manner on the principal display panel.

(i) Individually wrapped and labeled packages of less than one-half ounce net weight which are in a shipping container, need not bear a statement of net quantity of contents as specified in this subdivision (h) when the statement of net quantity of contents on the shipping container meets the requirements of this subdivision (h);

(ii) Random weight consumer size packages bearing labels declaring net weight, price per pound, and total price, shall be exempt from the type size, dual declaration and placement requirements of this subdivision (h), if an accurate statement of net weight is shown conspicuously on the principal display panel of the package.

(iii) Margarine in 1 pound rectangular packages (except packages containing whipped or soft margarine or packages that contain more than four sticks) is exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (3) and (5) of this subdivision (h) regarding the placement of the statement of the net quantity of contents within the bottom 30 percent of the principal display panel and that the statement be expressed both in ounces and in pounds, if the statement appears as “1 pound” or “one pound” in a conspicuous manner on the principal display panel.

(iv) Sliced shingle packed bacon in rectangular packages containing eight ounces, one pound or two pounds exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (3) and (5) of this subdivision regarding the placement of the statement of the net quantity of contents within the bottom 30 percent of the principal display panel and that the statement be expressed both in ounces and in pounds if the statement appears as “8 oz.”, “½pound”, “1 pound”, “one pound”, “2 pounds” or “two pounds” as the case may be in a conspicuous manner on the principal display panel.

(10) Labels for containers which bear any representation as to the number of servings contained therein shall bear, contiguous to such representation, and in the same size type as is used for such representation, a statement of the net quantity of each such serving.

(11) As used in this section a “random weight package” is one which is one of a lot, shipment, or delivery of packages of the same product with varying weights and with no fixed weight pattern.

(12) On a multiunit retail package, a statement of the net quantity of contents shall appear on the outside of the package and shall include the number of individual units, the quantity of each individual unit, and in parentheses, the total net quantity of contents of the multiunit package in terms of avoirdupois or fluid ounces, except that such declaration of total quantity need not be followed by an additional parenthetical declaration in terms of the largest whole units and subdivisions thereof, as required by paragraph (h)(5) of this section. For the purposes of this section “multiunit retail package” means a package containing two or more individually packaged units of the identical commodity and in the same quantity, with the individual packages intended to be sold as part of the multiunit retail package but capable of being individually sold in full compliance with all requirements of the regulations in this Part. Open multiunit retail packages that do not obscure the number of units and the labeling thereon are not subject to this paragraph if the labeling of each individual unit complies with the requirements of paragraphs (2), (3), (6) and (8) of this subdivision.

(13) Shingle packed sliced bacon cartons containing product weighing other than eight ounces, one pound, or two pounds shall have the statement of the net quantity of contents shown with the same prominence as the most conspicuous feature on the label, and printed in a color of ink contrasting sharply with the background and such containers of sliced bacon that are rectangular are exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (3) and (5) of this subdivision regarding the placement of the statement of the net quantity of contents within the bottom 30 percent of the principal display panel and that the statement be expressed both in ounces and in pounds.

(1) The official establishment number shall be either embossed or lithographed on all hermetically sealed metal, plastic or glass containers of products fully processed within such containers in an official establishment, except that such containers which bear labels lithographed directly on the container and in which the establishment number is incorporated need not have the establishment number separately embossed or lithographed thereon. Labels shall not be affixed to containers so as to obscure the embossed or lithographed establishment number.

(2) When any product is placed in a carton or in a wrapper of paper or cloth or in any other type of container approved by the commissioner, which is labeled in accordance with this Part, the official inspection legend and the official establishment number as specified in subdivision (c) of this section, may be applied by means of a sticker to be securely and prominently affixed, along with the name of product, at a place on the label reserved for the purpose. In case there are two or more display panels featuring the name of product, the inspection sticker shall be affixed to each panel.

(3) The official establishment number may be omitted from the official inspection legend on cartons used as outer containers of edible fats, such as lard and oleomargarine, when such products are enclosed in wrappers which bear an official inspection legend containing the official establishment number.

(4) The official establishment number may be omitted from the official inspection legend on the immediate containers of sliced bacon, frozen dinners and pies, and similarly packaged products when the official establishment number is placed on an end panel at the time of packaging and when it is presented on a single colored background in a prominent and legible manner in a size sufficient to insure easy recognition.

(5) The official establishment number may be omitted from the official inspection legend on consumer size packages of sliced meat food products when official establishment number is printed on the label at the time of packaging and when it is presented on a single colored background in a prominent and legible manner in a size sufficient to insure easy recognition.

(6) The official establishment number may be omitted from the official inspection legend on consumer size containers of meat food products in aluminum pans or trays when the official establishment number is embossed in such pans or trays and when a statement such as “Est. No. on Pan” is placed contiguous to the official inspection legend on the container.

(7) The official establishment number may be omitted from the official inspection legend printed on artificial casings or bags enclosing meat food products when the official establishment number is etched in ink on a flat surface of a metal clip used to close the container in a prominent and legible manner in a size sufficient to insure easy recognition and when a statement, such as, “Est. No. on Metal Clip” is placed contiguous to the official inspection legend on the casing or bag.

(8) The official establishment number may be omitted from the official inspection legend printed on paper labels of canned products when the official establishment number is printed on the principal display panel, or on the 20 percent panel as permitted under paragraph (9), at the time of labeling the container; or the official establishment number may be printed on the back of the paper label when the statement “Est. No. on Back of Label” is printed contiguous to the official inspection legend, in a prominent and legible manner in a size sufficient to insure easy recognition.

(9) The official inspection legend, and the official establishment number when required under this subdivision, may be placed on the 20 percent panel adjacent to the principal display panel and reserved for required information, in the case of a cylindical or nearly cylindrical container.

(j) Labels of any product within any of the following paragraphs shall show the information required by such paragraph for such product:

(1) A label for product which is an imitation of another food shall bear the word “imitation” immediately preceding the name of the food imitated and in the same size and style of lettering as in that name and immediately thereafter the word “ingredients”; and the names of the ingredients arranged in the order of their predominance.

(2) If a product purports to be or is represented for any special dietary use by man, its label shall bear a statement concerning its vitamin, mineral, and other dietary properties upon which the claim for such use is based in whole or in part and shall be in conformity with regulations (21 CFR Part 125) established pursuant to sections 403 and 701 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 343, 371).

(3) When an approved artificial smoke flavoring or an approved smoke flavoring is added as an ingredient in the formula of a meat food product, as permitted in Part 318 of this Article, there shall appear on the label, in prominent letters and contiguous to the name of the product, a statement such as “Artificial Smoke Flavoring Added” or “Smoke Flavoring Added”, as may be applicable, and the ingredient statement shall identify any artificial smoke flavoring or smoke flavoring so added as an ingredient in the formula of the meat food product.

(4) When any other artificial flavoring is permitted under Part 318 of this Article to be added to a product, the ingredient statement shall identify it as “Artificial Flavoring”.

(5) When artificial coloring is added to edible fats as permitted under Part 318 of this Article such substance shall be declared on the label in a prominent manner and contiguous to the name of the product by the words “Artificially colored” or “Artificial coloring added” or “With added artificial coloring”. When natural coloring such as annatto is added to edible fats as permitted under Part 318 such substance shall be declared on the label in the same manner by a phrase such as “Colored with annatto”.

(6) When product is placed in a casing to which artificial coloring is applied as permitted under Part 318 of this Article, there shall appear on the label, in a prominent manner and contiguous to the name of the product, the words, “Artificially colored”.

(7) If a casing is removed from product at an official establishment and there is evidence of artificial coloring on the surface of the product, there shall appear on the label, in a prominent manner and contiguous to the name of product, the words “Artificially colored”.

(8) When a casing is colored prior to its use as a covering for product and the color is not transferred to the product enclosed in the casing, no reference to color need appear on the label but no such casing may be used if it is misleading or deceptive with respect to color, quality, or kind of product, or otherwise.

(9) Product which bears or contains any other artificial coloring, as permitted under Part 318 of this Article, shall bear a label stating that fact on the immediate container or if there is none, on the product.

(10) When an antioxidant is added to product as permitted under Part 318 of this Article, there shall appear on the label in prominent letters and contiguous to the name of the product, a statement identifying the officially approved specific antioxidant by its common name or abbreviation thereof and the purpose for which it is added, such as, “BHA, BHT and Propylgallate added to help protect flavor”.

(k) Packaged products which require special handling to maintain their wholesome condition shall have prominently displayed on the principal display panel of the label the statement: “KEEP REFRIGERATED,” “KEEP FROZEN”, “PERISHABLE KEEP UNDER REFRIGERATION”, or such similar statement as the commissioner may approve in specific cases. Products that are distributed frozen during distribution and thawed prior to or during display for sale at retail shall bear the statement on the shipping container: “KEEP FROZEN”. The consumer-size containers for such products shall bear the statement “PREVIOUSLY HANDLED FROZEN FOR YOUR PROTECTION, REFREEZE OR KEEP REFRIGERATED”. For all perishable canned products the statement shall be shown in upper case letters one-fourth inch in height for containers having a net weight of three pounds or less, and for containers having a net weight over three pounds, the statement shall be in upper case letters at least one-half inch in height.