A Food Labeling Guide: Chapter 3 - Net Quantity of Contents Statements ΓΈ Calorie Counter
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A Food Labeling Guide: Chapter 3 - Net Quantity of Contents Statements

<< Chapter 2: Name of Food | A Food Labeling Guide | Chapter 4: Ingredient List >>

3.1. What is the net quantity of contents?
The net quantity of contents (net quantity statement) is the statement on the label which provides the amount of food in the container or package.

21 CFR 101.105(a)
3.2. Where is the net quantity of contents statement placed on the label?
The net quantity statement (net quantity of contents) is placed as a distinct item in the bottom 30 percent of the principal display panel, in lines generally parallel with the base of the container.

21 CFR 101.105(f)
3.3. Should the net quantity of contents be stated in both grams and ounces?
Food labels printed must show the net contents in both metric (grams, kilograms, milliliters, liters) and U.S. Customary System (ounces, pounds, fluid ounces) terms.

The metric statement may be placed either before or after the U. S. Customary statement, or above or below it. Each of the following examples is correct (additional examples appear in the regulations):
  • Net wt 1 lb 8 oz (680g)
  • Net wt 1 lb 8 oz
    680 g
  • 500 ml (1 pt 0.9 fl oz)
  • Net contents 1 gal
    3.79 L
P.L. 102-329, August 3, 1992; 21 CFR 101.105
3.4. Why is it necessary to calculate the area of the principal display panel?
The area of the principal display panel (calculated in square inches or square centimeters) determines the minimum type size that is permitted for the net quantity statement (see next question).

Calculate the area of the principal display panel as follows. The area of a rectangular or square principal display panel on a carton is the height multiplied by the width (both in inches or both in centimeters).

To calculate the area of the principal display panel for a cylindrical container, multiply 40% of the height by the circumference.
3.5. What is the minimum type size?
For the net quantity statements, the minimum type size is the smallest type size that is permitted based on the space available for labeling on the principal display panel. Determine the height of the type by measuring the height of the lower case letter "o" or its equivalent when mixed upper and lower case letters are used, or the height of the upper case letters when only upper case letters are used.

Minimum Type Size Area of Principal Display Panel
1/16 in. (1.6 mm)5 sq. in. (32 sq. cm.) or less
1/8 in. (3.2 mm)More than 5 sq. in. (32 sq. cm.) but not more than 25 sq. in. (161 sq. cm.)
3/16 in. (4.8 mm)More than 25 sq. in. (161 sq. cm.) but not more than 100 sq. in. (645 sq. cm.)
1/4 in. (6.4 mm)More than 100 sq. in. (645 sq. cm.) but not more than 400 sq. in. (2580 sq. cm.)
1/2 in. (12.7 mm)Over 400 sq. in. (2580 sq. cm.)
3.6. What are the conspicuousness and prominence requirements for net quantity statements?
A print style must be prominent, conspicuous and easy to read. The letters must not be more than three times as high as they are wide, and lettering must contrast sufficiently with the background to be easy to read. The net quantity statement should not be crowded with artwork or other labeling (minimum separation requirements are specified in the regulation).

21 CFR 101.105 and 101.15
3.7. What is included in the net quantity of contents statement?
Only the quantity of food in the container or package is stated in the net quantity statement. Do not include the weight of the container, or wrappers and packing materials. To determine the net weight, subtract the average weight of the empty container, lid and any wrappers and packing materials from the average weight of the container when filled with food.

Filled container weighs18 oz.
Empty container weighs2 oz.
Wrapper weighs1 oz.
Net Weight15 oz. (425 g)
21 CFR 101.105(g)
3.8. Is water or other packing medium included in determining the net quantity of contents in a food container?
The water or other liquid added to food in a container is usually included in the net quantity declared on a label. In some cases where the packing medium is normally discarded, the drained weight is given, e.g., olives and mushrooms.

Beans weigh9 oz.
Water weighs4 oz.
Sugar weighs1 oz.
Net Weight14 oz. (396 g)
21 CFR 101.105(a)
3.9. What is the net quantity of contents for a pressurized can?
The net quantity is the weight or volume of the product that will be delivered from the pressurized container together with the weight or volume of the propellant.

Whipped cream11.95 oz.
Propellant.05 oz.
Net Weight12 oz. (340 g)
21 CFR 101.105(g)
3.10. What is the policy on using qualifying phrases in net quantity statements?
Phrases or terms that exaggerate the amount of food must not be used.

INCORRECT:Net Wt. = 2 Large oz. (5 g)
CORRECT:Net Wt. = 2 oz. (5 g)
21 CFR 101.105(o)
<< Chapter 2: Name of Food | A Food Labeling Guide | Chapter 4: Ingredient List >>



Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
A Food Labeling Guide, September 1994 (Editorial revisions June, 1999)

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