Food

Food labelling

What you need to know about food labelling including allergens andnutritional declarations.

Regulations are in place to help to make food labels clearer and also improve nutritional and allergen information to consumers. The regulations will apply to all food intended for the final consumer, including foods delivered by mass caterers, and food intended for supply to mass caterers. 

The occasional handling, preparation, storage and serving of food by private persons at events such as church, school or village fairs are not covered by the regulations unless the activity is being carried out in the course of the person's business as a food business operator.

Food labelling regulations include:

  • mandatory nutrition labelling on pre-packaged food
  • country of origin labelling
  • date marking (including date of first freezing)
  • clarity and legibility of food information
  • labelling of non pre-packed foods
  • allergen information, including on food sold loose and in restaurants and cafes

Improvement notices can be issued by Environmental Health Officers for failure to comply with some sections of the Regulations. Failure to comply with the improvement notice will be considered a criminal offence.

What you need to know to comply

You need to know what food allergies are and what allergen information food businesses must provide to customers.

Read more about changes required to labelling of food prepacked for direct sale. These changes come into effect from the 1 October 2021 because of The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 otherwise known as 'Natasha Law'

Read more about allergies on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website

Businesses can read more about providing allergen information and best practice for handling allergens by following the Allergen guidance for food businesses.

Businesses can view the prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) toolkit and sector-specific guidance.

Businesses should understand what to include on a food label in line with all legal requirements that apply to naming the food and listing of ingredients and quantity of ingredients including additives and flavourings.

Importing food

If your business is importing pre-packed food you must ensure that the label on the product complies with the labelling regulations. The composition of the product must match the label. 

The exporter in the country of origin should provide documents from the countries competent body, for example an export health certificate.

Where products are imported from micro-industries and not accompanied by an export health certificate, you may need to have a sample of the product analysed to establish its composition, verify that the product is safe to eat and is correctly labelled before it is placed on the market.

Food labelling and packaging

You can read the FSA's guidance on food labelling and packaging on their website

Allergen information for 'prepacked for direct sale' food

Information note on the new allergen labelling rules for food businesses will come into effect from October 2021.

Inspections

Routine visits will be made to the premises by authorised officers in accordance with food laws.

Read information on this process

Page last updated: 20 Jul 2021