Food business operators need to label pre-packaged foods and check that any food label that they apply, meets UK food labelling legislation. From January 2021, UK food exporters must also ensure that any foods exported to the EU include the name and address of the EU importer and any products of animal origin include the new format premises health mark or identity code. This is a useful source for the latest food label changes following Brexit.
Our food label experts can advise whether your food labels comply with both existing and planned food labelling regulations. We work with importers, manufacturers and retailers to avoid costly product recalls and to prevent legal action caused by food labels not meeting EU and UK laws. We also run food labelling training courses.
Food label requirements are complex and vary from product to product. In the main, they only apply to prepackaged foods and not to foods sold loose. There are also exemptions to certain rules if the foods are packed on the same site that they are sold from. There are certain basic requirements required on a food label :
• Food name – this may be one required by law (e.g. jam or butter) or a customary name (e.g. fish fingers or spaghetti). If neither of these apply, the name must be sufficiently precise to distinguish it from products with which it could be confused
• List of ingredients – in descending order, by weight
• Percentage quantity indication – only applies to certain ingredients (QUID declaration)
• Durability date – a ‘use by’, ‘best before’ or ‘best before end’ date
• Any special storage or use conditions – e.g. store refrigerated and use within two days of opening
• Name and address – of the manufacturer, packer or seller
• Place of origin – if its omission could mislead e.g. a French product with a Union Jack on the label
• Any instructions for use – if necessary to use the food e.g. cooking times and temperatures
• Nutritional content – the amount of energy, fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt (we can help you calculate nutritional data or arrange lab testing)
This was a brief summary and there are specific rules about the details of each of these indications, and the manner in which they are presented, which also need to be followed. Some food types have additional requirements e.g. products of animal origin, jam, chocolate.