What can a manufacturer choose to put on their food label?

There are many different types of food labels out there. As a business, it can be difficult to know what type of label you need to include on your products. 

There are several different factors to consider when choosing the right type of food label. The main one being who you sell your food products to. A consumer-facing food label will require different information to one for a manufacturer. 

Are ingredient labels optional?

In short, no. It is a legal requirement to include information about the contents of a food item in the form of a label. 

For individually packaged food the labels must be clear and on each item. For bulk items that are stored in the same container the label can be on the outside of the box. 

When do I have to put it on a food label?

The food label must be added onto the product before it is shipped or sold to the customer. At whatever point the food label is added to the product is up to you and your process. As long as the product leaves the facility with the correct food label you are safe. 

Can I decide what to include on a food label?

There are key things which need to be included on a food label. It is essential that a food label is clear and easy to read. Not only that it should be permanent and easily found.

The requirements for food labels can be slightly different as mentioned previously depending on where you sell your products to. 

Manufacturers food labels

Manufacturer food labels, or products that are sold lose you should be including the following:

  • Name of the food

  • Information on genetically modified ingredients (irradiated ingredients

  • Warnings 

  • Additives that have been added 

  • Allergens 

If you sell meat items, please read more information on the .gov website. 

Consumer food labels

If you are selling your food directly to consumers you will need to include the following:

  • Name of the food

  • Best before or use by dates

  • Any warnings

  • Quantity information 

  • Full list of ingredients, including all allergens 

  • Country of origin

  • Storage instructions 

  • Cooking instructions where needed

  • Name and Address of the UK/EU business responsible for information on the food, or the information of the importer if the business is not in the UK

For more information on specific requirements visit the .gov website.

What are the essential ingredients that need to be listed on a food label?

If your product has more than one ingredient you must list each ingredient on your food label. As well as any additives. They should be listed in weight order with the highest quality first then in descending order.

It is essential that you include any allergens which are included in your food, making these allergens stand out is also important.

The allergens are:

  • celery

  • cereals containing gluten - including wheat, rye, barley and oats

  • crustaceans - including prawns, crab and lobster

  • eggs

  • fish

  • lupin

  • milk

  • molluscs - including squid, mussels, cockles, whelks and snails

  • mustard

  • nuts

  • peanuts

  • sesame seeds

  • soya beans

  • sulphur dioxide or sulphites at levels above 10 mg per kilogram or per litre

Additional information to keep note of is:

  • Show the percentage of an ingredient if it is highlighted by the label or picture on the package

  • Show the percentage of an ingredient if it is mentioned in the name

  • Show the percentage of an ingredient if it is typically connected with the name by the consumer. 

What happens if I label food incorrectly?

Labelling food incorrectly is a serious offence. The information provided on a food label needs to be accurate otherwise it could lead to serious consequences. For those with food allergies and intolerances; incorrect food labels could be devastating.

If you are unsure whether your food label is correct, always double check and reprint with the correct label. 

Having the right information on your food labels is important. Here at Allergen Checker, we understand the importance of correctly labelling food and menus. Try out our online platform on a 7 day free trial to see how it can help you manage and organise your ingredients.