Food labelling - what you must show
You must show the following information:
- the name of the food
- a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date (or instructions on where to find it)
- any necessary warnings
- net quantity information
- a list of ingredients (if there is more than 1)
- the name and address of the UK business responsible for the information on the food or, if the business is not established in the UK, the name and address of the importer
- the country of origin, if required
- the lot number or use-by date
- any special storage conditions
- instructions for use or cooking, if necessary
The rules for what you must show on food labels will change from 1 January 2021 for some food and drink products.
You must put the net quantity in grams, kilograms, millilitres or litres on the label of:
- packaged food over 5g or 5ml
- packaged herbs and spices
Solid foods packed in a liquid (or an ice glaze) must show the drained net weight.
The net quantity must be close enough to the name of the food that you can see all this information at the same time. This also applies to the alcoholic strength for alcoholic drinks.
You do not have to show the weight or volume on foods sold by number, for example 2 bread rolls, provided that you can clearly see the number of items inside the packaging.
Using the ℮ mark
If you put the ℮ mark on the label you can export your product to a European Economic Area (EEA) country without having to meet weights and measures requirements of that country.
Information you may have to show
You must also show these if they apply to your product:
- a warning for drinks with an alcohol content above 1.2%
- a warning if the product contains GM ingredients, unless their presence is accidental and 0.9% or less
- a warning if the product has been irradiated
- the words ‘packaged in a protective atmosphere’ if the food is packaged using a packaging gas
Country of origin
You must show the country of origin for:
- beef, veal, lamb, mutton, pork, goat and poultry
- fish and shellfish
- olive oil
- fruit and vegetables imported from outside the EU
You can label certain food from EU countries and from the UK as ‘origin EU’. Check the rules for when to label food with its country of origin.
You must also show the country of origin if customers might be misled without this information, for example if the label for a pizza shows the leaning tower of Pisa but the pizza is made in the UK.
Special rules for some products
There are special rules about what you have to show on the label if you supply any of the following:
- bottled water
- bread and flour
- cocoa and chocolate products
- fats and oils
- fruit juices and nectars
- jams and preserves
- meat and meat products
- milk and milk products
- soluble coffee