Legal UK requirements for food and drink labelling

I wrote an article that mirrors this information after a recall from an Apprentice Winner. You can find it here.

For prepacked food and drink labelling, there are the following minimum legal requirements, regarding labels. These can be applied to products or in documents that accompany the consignment, in no particular order. Some of these are required to be on the front of the packaging, and others must be grouped together in the same “field of vision”. There are also requirements regarding the size of font that must be used for certain information. If in doubt, speak to your local Primary Authority or Trading Standards department:

Mandatory

  • Legal name of the product.
  • Ingredients declaration in descending order , as well as a QUID declaration. (Quantitative Ingredients Declaration)
  • Any warnings about specific ingredients, including novel ingredients such as chia seeds
  • Durability coding (Use by or Best Before)
  • Weight or volume using metric units and indication of average weight or minimum weight. (More information is here)
  • Ingredients or processing aids causing allergies or intolerances that are stated in the 14 Allergens.
  • Intentionally used allergens or allergen derivatives need to be highlighted in some manner.
  • Special storage conditions and/or conditions of use
  • Name or business name and address of the food business operator (Manufacturer, Retailer or Packer)
  • instructions for use where it would be difficult to make appropriate use of the food in the absence of such instructions
  • nutritional declaration in the required format
  • an origin statement (for some products and/or in some circumstances)

Product specific

The following may also have to be added, if appropriate:

  • drinks with an alcohol content above 1.2% have to carry a warning
  • if the product contains GM ingredients, unless their presence is accidental and 0.9% or less, there has to be a warning to this effect.
  • if the product has been irradiated, a warning must be applied.
  • the words ‘packaged in a protective atmosphere’ if the food is packaged using a packaging gas
  • Country of origin declaration, for guidance, download this document.
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