FDA Rounding Rules: A Comprehensive Guide for U.S. Food Label Nutrients

Navigating the intricate maze of FDA regulations can often feel like a challenging task, especially when it comes to understanding the rounding rules for U.S. food label nutrients. As a stakeholder in the food industry, you’re likely familiar with the pain points of trying to ensure compliance while also making your labels clear and informative for consumers. The FDA’s rules, while designed to provide transparency and consistency, can sometimes seem overwhelming and intricate. In this context, nutrition label makers are a valuable tool that simplify adherence to these complex regulations, ensuring that nutrition labels meet FDA standards effortlessly.
This article will act as a comprehensive guide to demystify the FDA rounding rules and offer you a clearer path through the regulatory landscape, with the support of tools like Food Label Maker to ease the compliance burden.

Download the FDA Rounding Checklist

FDA Rounding Rules Table for Your Nutrition Facts Label

The table below outlines the rules for rounding nutrient values on nutrition labels. You can also download an FDA Rounding Rules Compliance Checklist to ensure that you are rounding correctly when creating your nutrition facts label. The information has been sourced from Appendix H of the FDA Food Labeling Guide:

NutrientRounding RuleInsignificant Amount

Calories from Fat

Calories from Saturated Fat
< 5 cal – round as 0

≤50 cal – round to nearest 5 cal increment

> 50 cal – round to nearest 10 cal increment
< 5 cal
Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Trans Fat

Polyunsaturated Fat 

Monounsaturated Fat 
< 0.5 g – round as 0

< 5 g – round to nearest 0.5g increment

≥5 g – round to nearest 1 g increment
< 0.5 g
Cholesterol< 2 mg – round as 0

2 – 5 mg – round as “less than 5 mg”
> 5 mg – round to nearest 5 mg increment
< 2 mg

< 5 mg – round as 0

5 – 140 mg – round to nearest 5 mg increment

> 140 mg – round to nearest 10 mg increment
< 5 mg
Total Carbohydrate

Dietary Fiber

< 0.5 g – round as 0

< 1 g – round as “Contains less than 1 g” or “less than 1 g”

≥1 g – round to nearest 1 g increment
< 1 g
Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

Sugar Alcohol

Other Carbohydrate
< 0.5 g – round as 0 

< 1 g – round as “Contains less than 1 g “ or “less than 1 g”

≥1 g – express to nearest 1 g increment
< 0.5 g
Protein< 0.5 g – round as 0

< 1 g – round as “Contains less than 1 g” or “less than 1 g” or to 1 g if 0.5 g to < 1 g

≥1 g – round to nearest 1 g increment
< 1 g
When declaring nutrients other than vitamins and minerals that have RDIs as a % DVround to nearest 1% DV increment < 1% DV
Vitamins & Minerals (% DV)< 2% of RDI may be rounded in various ways (Refer to the FDA Food Labeling Guide for a more detailed explanation)

≤10% of RDI – round to nearest 2% DV increment

> 10% – 50% of RDI – round to nearest 5% DV increment

> 50% of RDI – round to nearest 10% DV increment
< 2% RDI
Servings per Containerround to nearest 0.5

For values that fall exactly halfway between two whole numbers or higher, round up. For values less than halfway between two whole numbers, round down. This applies to both gram and % DV increments.

Revised FDA Rounding Rules for Vitamins and Minerals 

In 2016, the FDA made revisions to its rounding rules by mandating the display of specific quantities (in mg or mcg) for essential vitamins and minerals on nutrition panels. 

The following tables in this article are sourced from Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels: Questions and Answers Related to the Compliance Date, Added Sugars, and Declaration of Quantitative Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals: Guidance for Industry by the FDA, published in 2018 and revised in 2019:

The table below offers guidelines on how to declare the amounts of vitamins and minerals on labels for adults and children aged 4 and above. The same recommendations can also be applied to infants, young children, and pregnant or lactating women based on their specific RDIs.

NutrientRecommended Increment
Vitamin ANearest 10 mcg
Vitamin CNearest mg
Calcium *Nearest 10 mg
Iron *Nearest .1 mg
Vitamin D *Nearest .1 mcg
Vitamin ENearest .1 mg
Vitamin KNearest mcg
ThiaminNearest .01 mg
RiboflavinNearest .01 mg
NiacinNearest .1 mg
Vitamin B6Nearest .01 mg
FolateNearest 5 mcg
Vitamin B12Nearest .01 mcg
BiotinNearest .1 mcg
Pantothenic acidNearest .1 mg
PhosphorusNearest 10 mg
IodineNearest mcg
MagnesiumNearest 5 mg
ZincNearest .1 mg
SeleniumNearest mcg
CopperNearest .01 mg
ManganeseNearest .01 mg
ChromiumNearest .1 mcg
MolybdenumNearest .1 mcg
ChlorideNearest 10 mg
Potassium *Nearest 10 mg
CholineNearest 10 mg
* mandatory vitamin/mineral that must be mentioned on your nutrition facts label

The table below displays further information specifying the quantitative amounts of vitamins and minerals declared on Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels:

NutrientRounding RuleInsignificant Amount
GeneralBased on units of measurement and levels of significance from RDI table.Zeros after decimal points can be dropped. Additional decimal places can be used if needed for accuracy.
Less than 2% of RDINot required to be declared on Nutrition Facts label.Can be declared with a zero, asterisk, or statement indicating it’s less than 2% of the daily value.
Dietary SupplementsMust declare vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium if they exceed the amount that can be shown as zero.
RDI < 5 mg or mcgRound to the nearest hundredth of a mg or mcg per serving.Applies to thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, copper, and manganese.
RDI 5-50 mg or mcgRound to the nearest tenth of a mg or mcg per serving.Applies to iron, vitamin D, vitamin E, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, zinc, chromium, and molybdenum.
RDI 50-250 mg or mcgRound to the nearest mg or mcg per serving.Applies to vitamin C, vitamin K, iodine, and selenium.
RDI 250-500 mg or mcgRound to the nearest 5 mg or mcg per serving.Applies to folate and magnesium.
RDI 500 mg or mcg or greaterRound to the nearest 10 mg or mcg per serving.Applies to vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, chloride, potassium, and choline.
All nutrients except proteinCalculate the percent DV.Manufacturers can use either the declared amount or the actual amount before rounding for consistency.

Understanding the FDA rounding rules is essential for anyone involved in the food industry, whether you’re a restaurant owner, a bakery proprietor, or running a meal kit company. Utilizing a nutrition label making tool can ease this process. These tools are designed to automatically apply these rounding rules to the nutritional values you input, ensuring both accuracy and compliance with FDA standards. This functionality streamlines the label creation process, allowing businesses to focus more on their products and less on the complexities of regulatory compliance. Let’s delve into the specifics of these rules for various nutrients:

Application to Different Sectors:

Whether you’re serving a meal, baking a cake, or curating a meal kit, understanding and applying the FDA’s rounding rules is crucial. 

  • Menus at Restaurants: When dining out, customers rely on the nutritional information provided on menus to make informed choices. For restaurants, adhering to the FDA rounding rules ensures that the nutritional values presented on their menus are both accurate and easily comprehensible. 
  • For instance, if a dish contains 4 calories, it would be rounded to 0, which will assist diners who are counting calories. Similarly, if a dish contains 47 calories from fat, it would be rounded to the nearest 5-calorie increment, making it 45 calories from fat on the menu. By following these rules, restaurants maintain transparency and build trust with their patrons.
  • Bakeries: Bakeries offer a plethora of baked goods, from bread to pastries. By adhering to the FDA’s rounding rules, bakeries ensure that their customers have a clear understanding of the nutritional content of their purchases, fostering informed choices and promoting health-conscious consumption.
  • For a bakery selling a muffin with 0.4 grams of total fat, the label should express this as 0 grams. If a cake slice contains 4.7 grams of saturated fat, it should be rounded to the nearest 0.5g increment, thus being labeled as 4.5 grams. This allows for a more accurate and transparent approach to the way baked goods are sold to the consumer. 
  • Meal Kit Companies: Meal kit companies have gained popularity for their convenience and variety. Each kit comes with ingredients and a recipe, often with nutrition facts for the prepared meal. 
  • If a meal kit’s recipe results in a dish with 143 mg of sodium, it should be expressed to the nearest 10 mg increment, making it 140 mg on the label. Similarly, if a dish has 0.3 grams of total carbohydrates, it should be labeled as 0 grams. By meticulously following the FDA’s rounding rules, meal kit companies ensure that their subscribers are well-informed about the nutritional value of their meals, leading to healthier eating habits.

Simplifying FDA Rounding Rules with Nutrition Analysis Software

Navigating the intricate details of FDA rounding rules can be a challenging endeavor for many in the food industry. However, with the advent of advanced nutrition analysis software, this process has become significantly more manageable. Let’s explore how these tools, especially platforms like Food Label Maker, can simplify the complexities of FDA compliance.

One of the primary challenges many food manufacturers and businesses face is a lack of clarity regarding FDA guidelines. The rules can be dense, filled with jargon, and difficult to interpret. Nutrition analysis software demystifies these guidelines, presenting them in a user-friendly manner so that the software not only helps users adhere to the rules but also educates them in the process.

Manually ensuring compliance with FDA rounding rules can also be time-consuming and removes valuable hours that could be spent on product development, marketing, or other crucial aspects of the business. Food Label Maker streamlines this process, automating many of the steps and significantly reducing the time spent on label creation. Here is how their effective software can assist you in your compliant label making process:

  • Automated Rounding: As aforementioned, Food Label Maker is designed to automatically apply the FDA’s rounding rules to the nutritional values you input. This means you no longer have to manually calculate and round each nutrient, reducing the risk of errors.
  • Comprehensive Database: The software boasts a vast nutritionist-verified database of ingredients. This ensures that your values are accurate and up-to-date with the latest FDA guidelines.
  • Customizable Labels: Beyond just providing nutritional values, Food Label Maker allows users to customize their labels, ensuring they are both compliant and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Real-time Updates: As FDA guidelines evolve, so does the software. Food Label Maker ensures that you’re always working with the most recent set of rules, eliminating the need to constantly check for updates manually.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Designed with the user in mind, the platform is intuitive and easy to navigate, even for those who might not be tech-savvy.

In conclusion, while the FDA’s rounding rules are undeniably essential for ensuring transparency and consistency in food labeling and for numerous businesses in the industry, they don’t have to be a source of stress. 

With tools like Food Label Maker, you can navigate these regulations with ease, ensuring your labels are both compliant and clear for your consumers. Nutrition analysis software continues to prove itself to be an invaluable asset for anyone in the food industry, so using it in your own business will only do you good.