Certain snippets of information must be shown on food labels by law in the United Kingdom. Check what quantity information needs to show, how to use the e mark, and special rules that apply for some foodstuffs.
The list of mandatory food labelling requirements under the law includes:
Note: A minimum font size applies to the presentation of mandatory information on food labels. You must use a font with a minimum x-height of 1.2 millimetres.
For food labelling purposes, you must show the net quantity of the product. The label must show the quantity in grams, kilograms, millilitres, or litres for:
The drained net weight must show on the labels of any solid foods that are packed in a liquid (or in an ice glaze).
The net quantity and the name of the food must be close enough together to see all the information at the same time. The same rule applies when displaying the alcoholic strength on alcoholic drinks.
If you sell foods by number (e.g. 2 bread rolls) there is no need to show a weight or the volume. But, consumers must be able to 'clearly' see how many items there are inside the packaging.
Note: The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has further information and guidance for consumers on quantity labelling.
Putting the e mark on a food label means you can export the product to another European Economic Area (EEA) country. Providing you meet the guidelines you would not need to meet weights and measures requirements for that country.
Note: The estimated sign or e-mark indicates that the packaging fulfils European Union Directive 2009/34/EC. A different section explains 'weights and measures: the law' in further detail.
Other information that must be shown on food and drink labels by law may include (if they apply to the product you sell):
Selling certain foodstuffs and alcoholic beverages will require you to show the country of origin, such as for:
There may be other circumstances that make it is necessary to show the country of origin. You must show it if customers might get misled without the information being there. For example, making a pizza in Britain but the label shows the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy.
Note: Check when you must label all chilled and frozen beef and veal (including minced beef and veal) with its country of origin.
The United Kingdom has extra requirements for products listed under food standards legislation. The special rules that need to show on the label would apply if you supply (any):
Food Labelling and Packaging | How to label food products and the legal requirements food businesses.
Ingredients List | What items needs listing on food and drink products with two (2) or more ingredients.
What Information Must Show on a Food Label in United Kingdom?