Food labelling and composition
Food labels are there to tell you the facts about foods so that you can understand exactly what you are buying and whether it is healthy. Food labels can be very confusing but there are clear guidelines about what they can or cannot show. Labels must not make false claims or give misleading descriptions.
Food Labelling Laws
The Food Labelling Regulations 1996 require pre-packed food to be marked or labelled with the following general requirements:
- Name or description of the food
- List of ingredients (in descending order, by weight)
- Percentage, quantity indication for certain ingredients or categories of ingredients
- A ‘use by’, ‘best before’ or ‘best before end’ date, or possibly a lot or batch number
- Any special storage conditions or conditions of use
- The name and address of the manufacturer, packer or seller
- Place of origin, if its omission could mislead
- Any instructions that are necessary to use the food
- Most food must be labelled with the quantity in metric units
There are specific rules about each of these indications and the manner in which they are presented.
- Some products have specific additional labelling requirements
- Specific additional information may be required if the food contains allergens
- Special rules for labelling certain claims on a food
- Nutritional labelling
- Exemptions and special provisions for certain foods or the way in which they are sold
For more information, please contact Environmental Health on 0845 277 7000 or e-mail us.
More details can be found on the Food Standards Agency Website.