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Food labelling

Consumers should be able to rely on the information on food labels, and be confident that minimum standards are met. We are here to help businesses comply with the law and to tackle misdescriptions and sub-standard food.

Food labels are there to give us information on what we eat. There are regulations that prevent manufacturers from using misleading food labels.

See the food allergy page for further advice

  • The law on food labeling changed from 13 December 2014*
  • We have been working with our businesses to ensure they are aware of the changes to food labels required
  • The most important change is a requirement that allergens are emphasised in the ingredients list
  • Previously this information was provided in various ways, causing confusion
  • Consumers with allergies or intolerance to certain foods will now only need to check the ingredients list

* EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation No. 1169/2011

  • Name of the food
  • List of ingredients with allergens emphasised
  • Storage instructions and instructions for use if appropriate
  • 'Best before' or 'use by' date
  • Name and address of manufacturer
  • Nutritional information
  • Quantity
  • Quantitative ingredients declarations (QUID)
  • Alcoholic content in drinks
  • Special claims

For more information gov.uk/guidance/food-labelling-loose-foods

  • Sample a wide range of food for analysis or examination to make sure the composition and labelling are accurate
  • Use our expertise to target suspect foodstuffs available on the market
  • Remain alert for instances of food substitution e.g. calling a food 'lobster' when it is in fact another species or perhaps selling a cheaper brand of whisky for a 'branded name'
  • The quality of food you eat is our business so we regularly visit food premises and carry out full inspections, which include safety checks that no perishable food is on sale past its 'use by' date. This includes sales of food in shops, pubs, takeaways and restaurants

We understand that businesses may have difficulty in understanding the wide range of legislation controlling the food market, so we use our expertise to offer advice and guidance in the following ways:

  • By sampling a wide range of food for analysis or examination to make sure the composition and labelling are accurate during inspections
  • Through business information leaflets
  • By offering advice to businesses about their particular problems

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Last updated: 28 June 2017 | Last reviewed: 28 June 2017