The law does not require goods labels to show any particular information for all products. But, using inaccurate descriptions is a criminal offence.
Even so, special rules apply for retailers and on certain types of products. You must not use misleading labels to describe:
- Composition (what the product is made of)
- Endorsements by people or organisations
- How, where, and when it got made
- Metric measures (quantity or size) and the price
- Stated purpose (what you say it can do)
Note: UK law on product labelling applies to anyone who manufactures or sells goods to the public. Products that could be dangerous also require written or illustrated safety information.
Specific Business Sector Regulations
Manufacturing, distributing, or selling certain kinds of goods means you must also follow specific product labelling rules. The articles that the additional regulations apply to, include:
- Food and drink labelling and packaging regulations
- The labelling of footwear
- The hallmarking of precious metals (e.g. jewellery)
- Safety regulations for children’s products (e.g. toys)
Note: As a rule, there is no legal requirement for origin marking on most goods. UK law does not stop you doing so, but all origin markings must be accurate.
Product Labelling Rules for Retailers
As a retailer, the products that you are selling in the United Kingdom must display:
- The price in sterling (pounds and pence) and include the VAT content (if applicable).
- The ‘unit price’ of a single item for products that you are selling loose.
- The units of measurement for unit pricing (e.g. metric measures such as centimetres, kilograms, or litres).
Note: Some exceptions still apply for certain products (e.g. beer is still sold as pints in public houses).
Giving consumers a misleading price indication about goods and services is an offence. These regulations apply whether the indicated price is in written notice or by verbal means.
Your local Trading Standards office can answer questions about how to label products correctly in Great Britain.
Note: Failing to follow the rules on product labelling can result in a prosecution.