U.K. Food Labeling Guidance Update

This type of product includes food that is sold packaged, and whose content can only be altered by opening or changing the packaging.

The minimum information that must appear on the container or label is:
→ Name of the product → List of ingredients, and quantitative declaration of the same (QUID) → Information on allergens → Net amount, in volume or weight → Storage conditions and expiration date/best before date → Name and address of the company responsible for the information ( FBO, Food Business Operator) → Country of origin or provenance → Preparation instructions → Nutritional information
2.1 Product name
The name of the food must be clearly indicated on the packaging and must not be misleading. If there is a name prescribed in law, it must be used. In the absence of a legal name, a usual name may be used. If there is no usual name or it is not used, a descriptive name of the food must be provided. It must be sufficiently descriptive to inform the consumer of the true nature of the food and enable him to distinguish it from products with which he might otherwise be confused. Most products fall into this category and require a descriptive name. If the food has been processed in any way, the process must be included in the title.
2.2 List of ingredients
If the food product has two or more ingredients (including water and additives), they must all be listed under the heading “Ingredients” or an appropriate heading that includes the word “ingredients.” Ingredients must be listed in order of weight, with the main ingredient listed first according to the amounts used to prepare the food. Some foods are exempt from the need to show a list of ingredients (see attached document). A quantitative ingredient declaration (QUID) must be made, informing the percentage of certain specific ingredients of a food product, when this ingredient: → Is part of the name of the product (for example, percentage of apple in an apple pie) → Is normally associated with the name of the product → The presence of the ingredient is emphasized in the packaging or labeling by words or images → Characterizes a food and distinguishes it from similar products The percentage must be visible in the list of ingredients, in parentheses, or below of the product name. The consumer must be informed when the food product contains: sugars or sweeteners, aspartame, liquorice, caffeine or polyalcohols. Products with fat content must also include information on sterols and stanols, including health warnings regarding cholesterol and nutritional balance. The amount of these substances must be reflected in the list of ingredients, either in percentage or in grams per 100g.
2.3 Allergen Information
When a food product contains any of the 14 allergens that must be declared by law, as ingredients, these allergens must be included and emphasized within the list of ingredients.
The main allergens are: Gluten, crustaceans, molluscs, eggs, fish, nuts, soybeans, lactose, celery, mustard, sesame, sulphites, lupins.
2.4 Net amount
All foods contained in containers of more than 5 g or 5 ml must show the net amount on the label. Foods packed in liquid (or ice glazed) must also show drained net weight.
2.5 Storage conditions and expiration date/best before date
The date of consumption must be included under the terms “best before” or “use by”. The latter must be used in cases in which exceeding that deadline may pose a health problem.
Products that do not require a best before date, but do require a batch number:
→ Fresh fruit and vegetables, which have not been cut, peeled or treated. → Wines and other beverages made from grapes, must or other fruits. → Beverages with an alcoholic content of more than 10% → Pastry products usually intended for consumption less than 24 hours after preparation → Vinegar → Kitchen salt → Sugar (in solid state) → Confectionery made mainly from sugar → Chewing gum and products similar With regard to storage conditions, the necessary instructions must be indicated so that the consumer can make correct use of the product.
2.6 NotName and address of the responsible company (Food Business Operator, FBO)
Businesses that market the food must include a business name and address on the food’s container or label. The data can be from the company responsible for placing the product on the market, or from the company that has imported the product, but it must always be established in the United Kingdom. Food products sold in Northern Ireland (IN) must bear the details of a business established in IN or the EU. A transition period has been provided so that businesses can continue to use an EU, GB or IN address for food products sold in the UK until September 30, 2022. From October 1, 2022, food products Sold in the UK must include an address in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. The address provided must be a physical address where your company can be contacted by mail. You may not use an email address or phone number.
2.7 Country of origin and/or proyield
The indication of the country of origin or place of provenance of a food shall be mandatory when the absence of such indication may mislead the consumer as to the true country of origin or place of provenance of the food. For Northern Ireland, EU country of origin rules apply. Where EU law requires an indication from a Member State with respect to the country of origin, food businesses must ensure that where food originates from Northern Ireland, such indications must be in the format “UK (NI)” or “United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)”. In addition, meat, fish or seafood products have specific regulations regarding the marking of the country of origin, and must clearly state the country of origin on their labeling when they are destined for the final consumer or for an establishment dedicated to the preparation of food. for immediate consumption (hotels, hospitals, schools and any other place that provides food to the public). The labeling must provide information on the place of origin of the animals, as well as where the necessary steps for the transformation of the animals into the final product have been carried out. In the case of fish, the catch area.
2.8 Preparation instructions.
Instructions on how to properly prepare and cook food, including heating in a microwave oven, should be included on the label if necessary.
2.9 Nutritional information
The regulations regarding mandatory nutritional information made available to consumers are based on retained Community legislation 1169/2011. This regulation applies to most packaged food products. It also regulates nutritional information when it is optional: non-packaged products or additional information on the labeling of packaged products. It is not applicable, however, to food supplements or mineral waters. The mandatory nutritional information must appear on the back of the packaging. This declaration includes the energy value (in kilojoules and kilocalories) and the amounts (in grams) of fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins and salt. The amount of fiber is optional and the salt should be listed as such, rather than under the term sodium. The nutritional information that appears on the front of the packaging is optional. It is established that the energy value must be repeated alone, or together with the four nutrients, following color guidelines. For more detailed information, consult the official guide on front nutrition labelling. For products that are marketed without prior packaging, there are no requirements on nutritional information. In the event that this information is voluntarily provided, it may appear in its full format, the energy value alone, or it plus the four nutrients. Regarding alcoholic beverages, there is no obligation to provide nutritional information to the consumer. A voluntary declaration of the energy content of the drink can be made without the need to provide more nutritional information, although it can also be included.
2.10 Food supplements and fortified foods.
These types of products are not subject to the labeling requirements in terms of nutritional information, but the general labeling standards for packaged food products intended for the final consumer are applied.
2.11 Ecological products.
The description of a product as “organic” can only appear on the label if at least 95% of its content from agriculture is of organic origin. The label must include a code, which is the number given by the corresponding regulatory body. If the products meet the requirements to be organic products and the marketer sells to the end customer, the marketer himself can add the organic product label. Certain ingredients may be labeled organic if they meet the requirements, even if the final product is not organic. Products produced in the United Kingdom must declare whether they have been manufactured from 98% British ingredients (UK Agriculture) or not (Non-UK Agriculture) or a mixture. Use of the EU Organics logo is optional in the UK. The grace period for the labeling of organic products is extended until September 30, 2022.
Products with specific regulationsApart from the horizontal labeling rules, some products have specific labeling requirements. This section details the main products. The 3 nations that make up Great Britain have their own powers in this area. This guide describes those relating to England. Bottled water Bread and flour Cocoa and chocolate products Fats and oils Fish Fruit juices and nectars Honey Jams and preserves Dairy products Products containing meat Soluble coffee Sugars
How to display information on the label and packagingThe mandatory information that must appear on the label must have a font size with a minimum height of 1.2mm. If the largest area of ​​the packaging is less than 80cm square, a minimum height of 0.9mm can be used. Mandatory information must be indicated with words and numbers, although pictograms and symbols can also be used.
Labeling of loose non-packaged foods *Meats, cut cheeses, charcuterie, daily bread, fruits, vegetables or sweets. When it is sold in this way, the consumer must have the following information: → Name of the product → Information on allergens in case it contains it → QUID statement on products containing meat
Changes in labeling derived from BrexitThe deadline to implement the required changes is September 30, 2022. The local authorities of Great Britain will be in charge of applying the regulations. The labeling may include information required by the regulations of a market other than the British, such as the European Union. Products offered for sale in Northern Ireland must follow Community guidelines.
6.1 Notices of improvement in case of non-compliance
In the case of non-compliance with the labeling regulations, an official from the local authorities will issue an improvement notice to the food operator. In case of non-compliance with the notice, the procedure will be elevated to judicial matters.
6.2 Advice on labeling
In case of specific doubts about labelling, you can contact the competent local authorities. All the detailed information and links of interest in the attached document at the bottom of the page. *Source: Spanish Economic and Commercial Office in London.

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