Declaring Low Values of Nutrients on Food Labels


Food manufacturers often ask us whether they need to declare nutrients on food labels where the value is very low or zero.

Essentially, macro nutrient values on food labels may be expressed as 0 in the following cases:

  • Fat:  0.5g/100g or less
  • Carbohydrate:  0.5g/100g or less
  • Sugars:  0.5g/100g or less
  • Protein:  0.5g/100g or less
  • Saturates:  0.1g/100g or less
  • Salt:  0.0125g/100g or less

Note the discrepancy between fat and saturates.  In a product containing 0.4g/100g fat and 0.2g/100g saturates, the fat would be given as 0, while the saturates would be given as 0.2. 

In this case, in order that the information looks sensible to the consumer, we’d recommend that the fat value is given as 0.4, ignoring this guideline. Again, we’re keen not to mislead or confuse our customers.

In place of 0, it is also acceptable to put <0.5 for fat, carbohydrate, sugars, and protein

and <0.1 for saturates

and <0.01 for salt

Also, if zero by these rules, you can even leave out the nutrient from the table altogether but have a statement nearby saying ‘contains negligible amounts of … named nutrients.

Few people do this, though, because it demands more labelling space than declaring the value!

David F. Bartley PhD

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