# How are nutritional values determined?

Asked by jtvoar16 (1677 ) December 2nd, 2008

I know what they are. I am wondering how companies figure the stats out. Also, I have another question with this one:
What if I decide to make a food thing, and sell it from my house and\or street corner? Do I need Nutritional Facts on the product? I by home-made fudge every few weeks from a mom-n-pop shop here in colorado springs and have never seen Facts before.

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Scientists figured out how much the human body needs daily of certain things that go into products (ie, Iron). Companies then figure out how much a serving of their product contains and is absorbed by the body, and a percentage is derived from that. If a snack bar contains 3 mg of iron and the body needs 30 mg, the bar will contain 10% of your daily value. (Note that those numbers have been pulled out of thin air; I have no clue how much iron the body needs on a daily basis.)

I’m not sure about the nutritional facts on homemade items; you certainly see vendors here in NYC selling things at farmer’s markets and such without them, but I’d consult local law, if there is any on the books. If not, ask around?

TitsMcGhee (8197 )

Well, I know they figure out the number of calories using a calorimeter. Since a calorie (note, lowercase c) is equal to raising one gram of water 1 degree Celsius, one can measure the energy released when the food is burned or otherwise has the energy taken out of it. Note that since a calorie is very small, all of today’s food is represented in Calories (uppercase C) which is called the kilogram calorie or kcal, equivalent to 1,000 small calories.

A neat fact, since Canada implemented Nutrition Labels much later than the US, our recommended vitamin/mineral percentages are different, since they use up-to-date science.

If you’re going to start making and selling food, there’s a lot of other research you’ll need to do and rules you must follow. Your kitchen has to be a certain level of cleanliness, I guarantee you don’t meet it now because the rules are so tight (such as the three-sink dish washing method, which is pretty impossible in a normal kitchen with one sink). You will also need a business license and to keep proper records. I’m sure you know most of this, but other readers might not :)

Here’s some info I found for you about nutrition requirements for small businesses in America. Apparently if you run a small enough business (less than 10 employees) with sales not exceeding 10,000 units, you can apply for an exemption from the nutrition labeling requirement. However, if you make any type of health claim about your product (“sugar-free”, “low carb”, “trans fat free”), either on the product label or through advertising, you can NOT be exempt no matter how small your business is. And you need to renew each year. And you still have to list your ingredients and comply with all other labeling requirements. But still, it’s handy to know.

dynamicduo (14256 )

“In the modern day world, Calories are generally measured by using a sealed device called a calorimeter which locks in the heat and measures it based on the chemical reaction of the ignited food. A small vacuum of water rests above the food chamber. Once the food has been ignited and burns out, the temperature of the water is measured which thus determines the calorie content of the food.”

IBERnineD (7241 )

I used to be a big nutrition person. I was freaked out of trans fats. I used to never eat them and stayed away from fast food. But because my family is soo busy, we eat fast food a LOT. Because Boston has one around each corner. :^T I heard that if you follow the daily recommendations, it is not good for you. But that is only what I heard. I wouldn’t get it otherwise.

90s_kid (2158 )

The way I do it when creating nutritional panels for my company is to use a USDA approved database. It would be impossible to send each and every product produced out for lab testing, although we do that also to see how it matches up with the database records. Basically I have a program that I use to plug in the product formulas and that spits out a nutrition panel. Although this is not always completely accurate, there are many variables in the production world that could affect the nutrient values and for this reason the FDA allows a +/- 20% variance on nutrition facts panels.

If you are running a small operation, like dynamicduo said you aren’t required to have a nutrition facts panel, but if you are making a health claim, nutrient content claim or a structure/function claim then you must have a nutrition panel with poly and trans fat listed. Nutrition panels aren’t always exact but they are at least a reference point. For more info visit the FDA website and search for the Food Labeling Guide.

qualitycontrol (2565 )

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