Pre-packaged
Food Label Guide

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There are two key purposes of labels on product packaging; providing information about the product and marketing it. There are specific regulations regarding essential information on packaging for specific types of product and these vary depending on the type of product.

Food packaging is one of the most common types of packaging and is split into several types; pre-packaged food, food sold loose or in the catering business and meat sold loose. We are going to focus on the requirements of standard pre-packaged food.

The labels on the packaging must always be easily visible and easy to read.

Standard Front Label Requirements

Certain specific pieces of information are required on the front label on the packaging. These are:

  • Name of the food 
  • Best before date, use by date or instructions on where to find it
  • Quantity
  • Necessary warnings

Standard Front/Side/
Back
Label Requirements

Certain specific pieces of information are required, but can be on the front, side or back label on the packaging. These are:

  • If there are more than 2 ingredients then a list of ingredients
  • Name and address of manufacturer, packer or seller
  • Lot number (or use by date)
  • Cooking or usage instructions if applicable
  • Special storage instructions if applicable

Ingredient Specific Rules

Certain specific pieces of information are required, but can be on the front, side or back label on the packaging. These are:

  • If the product contains more than 0.9% GM ingredients (unless accidental) then a warning must be provided.
  • If the food contains certain ingredients then relevant warnings must be provided.

Product Specific Rules

Some specific products have individual labelling criteria they must meet.

  • Drinks with an alcohol content higher than 1.2% have slightly different labelling rules such as not requiring a list of all ingredients. They also require an indicator of the alcohol strength on the label.
  • Beef, veal, fish, shellfish, wine, most fruit, most vegetables, honey and olive oil must state the country of origin.
  • There are specific rules regarding certain products including fish, meat, meat products, milk, milk products, bottled water, cocoa products, chocolate products, fats, oils, fruit juices, nectars, honey, jams, preserves, soluble coffee and sugar.

Additional Circumstances

If certain processes have been used in the processing or packaging of a product then specific warnings must be displayed on the label.

Nutrition and Health

If you want to make health or nutrition claims or have added vitamins or minerals to your product then there are certain specific rules to follow.

  • If you have added vitamins or minerals to the food then you must show nutrition labelling. 
  • If you make a nutrition or health claim then you must show nutrition labelling. 
  • Nutrition claims need to meet specific criteria. For further information, see: ec.europa.eu/food/food/labellingnutrition/...
  • Health claims need to follow specific rules. 
  • Medical claims to treat, prevent or cure a disease/medical condition must not be made for food.

Organic Food

To be certified organic and label it as such, you must meet certain criteria.

  • For retailers selling organic products to customers, they can be labelled as organic if 95% or more of the agricultural ingredients are organic. 
  • To produce and prepare certified organic produce, you must register with an organic control body and follow their guidelines.

Professional label designers will ensure you have fulfilled all the labelling requirements whilst making sure your label is visually appealing to consumers. Contact The Label Makers for further information.

Source: www.gov.uk

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