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Ingredients List Required for Food Labels

Certain requirements apply to the listing of ingredients on food labelling in United Kingdom. This guide explains how to list ingredient quantities and the regulations for showing food and drink warnings.

Listing of Ingredients on Food Labelling UK

As a rule, a list of ingredients must include all the constituents that make up the food or the drink product.

Even though some exceptions exist, the ingredients list on food labelling must also include any additives and water.

If the food or drink product contains more than one (1) component, you must itemise all the ingredients in order of weight.

Compile the ingredients list according to the amounts used to make the product. Start with the main ‘largest’ ingredient at the beginning and end it with the smallest (by weight).

Note: You should list the names of the ingredients in the language that is relevant to the country where the food or drink is being sold.

Showing Ingredient Quantities (QUID)

In some cases, you would also need to show the percentage of each ingredient. The rule for giving a quantitative ingredients declaration (QUID) applies most to any that are:

  • Accentuated or emphasised by labelling, a picture, or a graphic (e.g. a picture of blackberries on the label).
  • Mentioned as part of the name of the product (e.g. ‘cheese’ and ‘onion’ in a cheese and onion pasty).
  • Normally associated with the name of the food or drink product by the consumer (the ‘mutton’ ingredient in a Lancashire hotpot).

Note: The Food Standards Agency has further information on how ‘QUID‘ informs a customer to the percentage of particular ingredients contained in a food product.

Food Allergen Labelling Requirements

The information that you must give on allergens in food includes substances produced or derived from allergens. It also applies those used in processing the food.

As a rule, you must use a different font, style, or background colour to highlight allergens on the label. You must also include allergens in the ingredients list.

A comprehensive list of allergens you must highlight on food labelling and packaging in United Kingdom includes:

  • Celery (including celeriac)
  • Cereals containing gluten (including barley, oat cereals, rye, spelt, and khorasan wheat)
  • Crustaceans (including crab, crayfish, lobster, prawns)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lupin (including lupin seeds and flour)
  • Milk (including lactose)
  • Molluscs (including cockles, mussels, oysters, snails, squid, and whelks)
  • Mustard
  • Nuts (e.g. almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia or Queensland nuts, pistachio nuts, pecan nuts, and walnuts)
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soya beans
  • Sulphur dioxide or sulphites (at levels above 10 milligrams per kilogram or 10 milligrams per litre in the finished product)

Note: The Food Standards Agency has extra guidance on food allergen labelling requirements and how it applies to the manufacturing industry.

Showing Food and Drink Warnings

Food and drink labels must show an appropriate warning if the product that you are producing contains certain types of ingredients. The listed ingredient and the wording you must use is:

  • Allura red (E129): ‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’
  • Aspartame: ‘Contains a source of phenylalanine’
  • Caffeine over 150 mg/l: ‘Not suitable for children, pregnant women and persons sensitive to caffeine’
  • Carmoisine (E122): ‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’
  • Liquorice: ‘Contains liquorice’ (review the extra wording needed for confectionery or alcohol containing liquorice)
  • Polyols: ‘Excessive consumption may cause a laxative effect’
  • Ponceau 4R (E124): ‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’
  • Quinoline yellow (E104): ‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’
  • Raw milk: ‘This milk has not been heat-treated and may therefore contain organisms harmful to health’
  • Skimmed milk with non-milk fat: (no fixed wording exists but you must show a warning that the product is unfit or not to be used for babies)
  • Sulphur dioxide over 10mg/l: ‘Contains sulphur dioxide (or sulphites/sulfites)’
  • Sunset yellow (E110): ‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’
  • Sweeteners: ‘With sweetener(s)’
  • Sweeteners and sugar: ‘With sugar and sweetener(s)’
  • Tartrazine (E102): ‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’


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Listing of Ingredients on Food Labels in United Kingdom