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Understanding Food Labelling Regulations

The need for clear, comprehensive labels is key in the food industry. Food is not just enjoyable to eat; it provides the essential nutrition we all need to survive.  As such, it has to be packaged and labelled correctly. The importance of food labels doesn’t end there though; the design of your food labels can make all the difference. After all, the label will help a consumer commit to purchase, or buy a competing product instead.

Here at Abbey Labels, we are experts when it comes to designing, producing and supplying food labels. Not only do they tick all the right boxes; your customers will love them!

So, with that in mind, we’ve put together a guide that will help you understand food labelling regulations.

In simple terms, food labels must be:

  • Clear, simple to understand & easy to read
  • Permanent & easily seen
  • Accurate and not misleading

These rules must always be followed, but there is more information to bear in mind. So, read on…

Information that must be shown on food labels

If your food products are pre-packed, some information must be immediately visible on the front of the packet.

Namely, these include; the name of the food or drink product, the quantity and any required warnings. You must also display a ‘Best Before’ or ‘Use by Date’, or direct consumers on where they can find it on the package.

The ingredients, lot number, storage conditions, cooking instructions and the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or seller must also be displayed on the label. This information can be located on the side or back of the product.

Information that might have to be shown on food labels

If your food or drink product has some special conditions, you will also have to display warning information.

For example; alcoholic drinks with alcohol content higher than 1.2% and products containing GM ingredients (0.9% & above).

You will also have to display a warning for radiated products, and those packaged in a protective atmosphere if packaged using gas.

Country of origin requirements

Some products will need to display their country of origin, if they are imported from outside the EU. These products include beef and veal, shellfish and fish, fruit and vegetables, wine, honey and olive oil.

Special rules

Some products fall under a set of special rules, when it comes to naming your product and what you have to show.

These rules apply to bottled water; bread and flour; cocoa; chocolate products; fats and oils; fish; fruit juices; nectars; honey; jams; meat and meat products; milk and milk products; soluble coffee and sugar.

Find out more about special food label rules here.

Ingredients and allergens

As mentioned above, your food label must display an ingredients list. This doesn’t have to be on the front of the package but if your product has more than two ingredients, every single one, in order of weight/quantity starting with the main one first, must be listed.

Allergens are also very important to include both clearly on the label and in the ingredients list. Allergens include: celery; cereals including gluten; crustaceans; eggs, fish; lupin; milk; molluscs; mustard; nuts; peanuts; sesame seeds; soya beans. You must also display a warning if your product contains sulphur dioxide or sulphites at levels above 10mg per kilogram or per litre.

Health claims and nutrition

Health conscious food and drinks products are big business. If you make a nutritional or health claim, or if you’ve added vitamins and minerals to your product, you will need to abide by nutritional food labelling regulations.

Baby food, formula and medical foods also fall under this category.

Take a look at the EU rules you will have to follow.

So, there you go; an overview of food labelling regulations. Here at Abbey Labels, we have a wealth of experience when it comes to food labels. We can help with everything from the design to nutritional information listing in a range of different styles.

Get in touch today and find out how we can help you at the best price.