FDA (US) Nutrition Label Rounding Rules
The FDA has very specific rules covering how to round nutrition labels depending on the nutrient and its value. That's why you [hopefully!] won't see labels showing 122 Calories or 2.5% Daily Value of Fat. With so many different nutrients and numbers on a nutrition label, rounding makes it easier for consumers to digest the information on your packaging.
After all, it's the same thing you naturally do when someone asks you the time (you'll round to the nearest 5, 10, or maybe 15 minutes) or how much cash you have on hand. The FDA just lays out how exactly to round each nutrient at each value of that nutrient, rather than you winging it. It keeps labels consistent and less demanding to read.
Below, we'll lay out the rounding rules for each nutrient on a nutrition label. ReciPal's nutrition labeling software does all this automatically so you don't have to think about it, but it's still useful to have a reference and to sanity check your labels.
The Major Nutrients
Because it's not confusing enough to have rounding rules, there have to be lots of them. In fact, the FDA has created different ranges of values for nutrients, and each range has its own rounding requirement. For the main nutrients in the panel--calories, fat, protein, carbs, etc.--the rules look like this:
|Calories||<5 round to 0;|
≤50 round to nearest 5 cal;
>50 round to nearest 10 cal
|All Fats (Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Trans Fat, Poly and Monounsaturated Fat||<0.5 g round to 0;|
<5 g round to nearest 0.5 g;
≥5 g round to nearest 1 g
|Cholesterol||< 2 mg round to 0;|
2-5 mg show as "less than 5 mg";
>5 mg round to nearest 5 mg
|Sodium||<5 mg round to 0;|
5-140 mg round to the nearest 5 mg;
>140 mg round to the nearest 10 mg
|All Carbohydrates (Total Carbs, Dietary Fiber, Sugar, Added Sugar, Sugar Alcohol)||<0.5 g round to 0;|
<1 g show as "less than 1 g";
≥1 g round to the nearest 1 g
|Protein||<0.5 g round to 0;|
<1 g show as "less than 1 g" or round to 1 g;
≥1 g round to the nearest 1 g
So What Else Gets Rounded?
As we said, everything gets rounded, so there are rules for percentage daily values too. These rules apply to all nutrients that have to show a percentage of the daily value that a serving of the product supplies. So they include all vitamins and minerals and everything in the main panel except trans fat, total sugars, and protein (% DV isn't required for protein, but it is allowed, and if you show it, it's rounded too):
|% DV||Rounding Rule|
|All Nutrients Except Vitamins and Minerals||round to nearest 1%|
|Vitamins and Minerals||<2% of RDI round to 0;|
≤10% RDI round to nearest 2% DV;
>10%-50% RDI round to nearest 5% DV;
>50% round to nearest 10% DV
But Wait, There's More - Quantitative Vitamin Rounding
When the FDA updated its rules in 2016, it decided to add a requirement to show an actual amount (in mg or mcg) for the mandatory vitamins and minerals in the panel (Vitamin D, Potassium, Calcium, and Iron) as well as for any optional ones like Vitamins A and C, Folate, Zinc, etc. Where would the fun be if those numbers didn't have to be rounded too? Here are those rules:
|Mandatory Vitamin/Mineral Quantitative Amount||Rounding Rule|
|Calcium||Nearest 10 mg|
|Iron||Nearest 0.1 mg|
|Vitamin D||Nearest 0.1 mcg|
|Potassium||Nearest 10 mg|
|Optional Vitamin/Mineral Quantitative Amount||Rounding Rule|
|Thiamin, Riboflavin, B6, B12, Copper, Manganese||Nearest 0.01 mg or mcg|
|Vit. E, Niacin, Biotin, Pantothenic acid, Zinc, Chromium, Molybdenum||Nearest 0.1 mg or mcg|
|Vit. C, Vit. K, Iodine, Selenium||Nearest 1 mg or mcg|
|Folate, Magnesium||Nearest 5 mg or mcg|
|Vit. A, Phosphorus, Chloride, Choline||Nearest 10 mg or mcg|
Don't Forget the Number of Servings
The number of servings in your package also gets rounded, even though it's not a nutrient like the other items mentioned above.
|Servings Per Container||Rounding Rule|
|<2 Servings Per Container||Should be a Single Serving Per Container|
|2-5 Servings Per Container||Round to nearest 0.5 Servings|
|>5 Servings Per Container||Round to nearest 1 Serving Per Container|
That's The Rounding Roundup
Now you know what's required, and it's kind of a lot to chew on, but you don't have to worry about it if you use ReciPal's nutrition label maker. It's all happening behind the scenes when ReciPal formats your label!
Once you enter your recipe from our USDA nutrition database, we'll calculate the unrounded nutrition values for you, and your customizable label will round each nutrient value based on the rules above. Then you can download your finished compliant nutrition label as a digital file (PDF or JPG), including the ingredient list, allergens, and business address, to print however you'd like. You'll impress your more nutrition conscious customers and be able to sell to wholesale buyers with confidence.