Guidance on nutritional labelling laws
Long awaited guidelines have finally been published by the DOH (Department of Health) on mandatory nutritional labelling. Small manufacturers have been eagerly awaiting advice as to whether or not they will be exempt.
We have put together some questions and answers to help you.
We already include nutrition information on our labels, what do I need to do?
Currently, a nutritional table is only required if you make a nutritional claim (e.g. low fat). If this is what you have been doing, you will have changed your labels in 2014 to comply with the new rules and will not need to make further changes.
Which foods will require nutritional tables?
The majority of prepackaged foods are covered but there will be exemptions:
- unpackaged foods sold directly to caterers or final consumers
- foods packed on the same site as they are sold
- specified foods that are mainly minimally processes or have little nutritional value
- manufacturers supplying small quantities to final consumers or local retailers
If you decide to provide any nutritional information voluntarily, you must follow the rules laid out in the regulations. These detail what must be declared in what format.
What does ‘manufacturers supplying small quantities to final consumers or local retailers’ mean?
Businesses will be exempt if they:
- have less than 10 employees and a turnover/balance sheet total of less than £1.4 million; and
- are only selling (including distance selling) these packaged goods through their own shops and/or to retailers within the same county or the adjoining county (provided this is no more than 35 miles from the county border)
What needs to be included?
You must declare the following items:
- energy value (in both kilojoules and kilocalories); and
- amount (in grammes) of fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt
You can add one or more of the specified supplementary items voluntarily but must include them if you make any nutrition or health claims in respect of them. The nutrients must be given in the specified order.
Where should I place the table?
The table can be provided on any surface of your packaging but it must meet the minimum font size requirements i.e. an ‘x-height’ of at least 1.2mm (or 0.9mm if the largest area is less than 80 cm2)
How does the new law apply to distance selling?
If you offer prepackaged food for sale by means of, for example a website or brochure, you must make nutritional information available before the sale is made. This could be on the website, in the brochure or by making available a free telephone information line.
How can I obtain nutritional values to put in my tables?
You can use:
- information provided by the manufacturer’s analysis of the ingredients
- known or actual averages of the ingredients (obtained by lab analysis)
- calculations from generally established data
Where can I find further assistance?
Safer Food Scores can calculate the nutrients for you and provide you with tables in the correct format. They can also carry out full label compliance checks.