Legal 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 view”. There are also requirements regarding the size of font that must be used for certain elements. If in doubt, speak to your local Primary Authority or Trading Standards department:

  • Legal name of the product.
  • Ingredients declaration in descending order and highlighting any allergens, as listed in EU Regulation 1169/2011, 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)
  • Name and address of the manufacturer, seller or packer
  • Lot number or an indication of the batch
  • Any special storage conditions (e.g. keep refrigerated)
  • Any instructions for use, if necessary (e.g. cooking instructions)

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.
  • Nutrition declaration

Useful information:

FDF leaflet on nutritional labelling.

Overview of food labelling from FSA

FSA Guidance for consumer labelling


Country of origin guidance

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