Since 1980s, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, an international recognized food authority, have published guidelines on nutrition information on food labels including Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling and Guidelines for use of Nutrition and Health Claims. These guidelines provide the template that one could adopt when applying nutrition labelling and the specific conditions that one could observe when making nutrient-related claims. In doing so, nutrition information presented on food labels can have a consistent format and meaning for the consumers.

Many developed countries have already had a labelling system for prepackaged food in place. In most of these countries, putting nutrition labelling on food labels is voluntary, unless the food products carry nutrient-related claims. Nutrition labelling is mandatory in several countries including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.

The European Union, Japan and Singapore have adopted the approach that nutrition labelling is mandatory for prepackaged foods with nutrient-related claims. Countries currently adopting the voluntary approach including countries of the European Union, however, are taking active steps moving towards mandatory labelling.