Interactive Food Label

Understanding the Food Information Regulations

EU laws are in force which require all food businesses to change the labels that apply to their foods. The changes will also affect food service businesses.

DWF has produced interactive labels showing some of key changes and how these laws may impact you. As always the devil is in the detail of the Regulations, they need to be reviewed fully to determine how the changes actually impact your product.

Please note: The information given in this interactive tool does not constitute legal advice. If you would like more information please get in touch.

Select the hot spots below to reveal more information.

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1. Lot mark

1. Lot mark

A lot mark is required in order to facilitate traceability in the event of a recall; this is usually positioned next to the durability indication.

Alternatively, the durability date can be used as a batch identification code, but this would not usually be commercially desirable as it would often result in inappropriately large batches in a recall.

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

2. Minimum font size

2. Minimum font size

NEW: Don't forget...

The new regulations now define what is "legible". For packaging greater than 80cm2 all mandatory information must be at least 1.2mm high. For packaging smaller than 80cm2 this reduces to 0.9mm. Where the largest surface on the packaging has an area of less than 10cm2 the regulation relaxes the requirements and less mandatory information is required.

Have you thought about...

Whether you can fit all of the mandatory particulars on the pack alongside your marketing messages?

If space is tight, mandatory information must take precedence over non-mandatory information.

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

3. Net quantity

3. Net quantity

The net quantity must appear on the label in the same field of vision as the product name.

NEW: The field of vision has been defined for the first time as 'all surfaces of a package that can be read from a single viewing point.'

Products must meet weights and measures requirements which will be updated to reflect the requirements of FIC.

If packed using the average weight system, the packer may choose to use an "e" mark to demonstrate compliance with the average weight system. If used, the "e" mark must conform to prescribed form, size and conditions of use.

Have you thought about...

The new net weight declaration for glazed foods - i.e. exclusive of glaze?

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

4. Product description

4. Product description

Steps to a compliant product description:

  1. First you must determine if there is a name prescribed by law (e.g. EU Directives on chocolate, water, juices, jam etc). If there is you must use this, however if not you can follow the steps below.
  2. Is there a customary name (e.g. Eccles Cake, Cottage Pie etc)? If there is, you can use this if you wish, if not - the name used must describe the food precisely so that the consumer knows the true nature of the product and can distinguish it from other products with which it could be confused.
  3. Then you must consider if it would be misleading if details of the physical condition or treatments the food has been subjected to are omitted (e.g. powdered, dried, concentrated, smoked, refrozen etc). If you think this would be misleading then these should accompany the name (NB: some are mandatory, e.g. 'irradiated').
  4. Finally – if there is no other name, then use a descriptive name, just make sure the description is not misleading!!

View our step by step flow chart to help ensure you have a compliant product description >

Have you thought about...

The addition of new mandatory particulars that must accompany the product description, such as:

  • refrozen;
  • defrosted;
  • substitute ingredients;
  • added proteins;
  • added water;
  • formed meat/fish; and
  • non-edible sausage casings?

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

5. Advertising considerations

5. Advertising considerations

If the label is to be used in any advertising, you must have regard to the advertising codes:

  1. The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code).
  2. The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (the BCAP Code).

Have you thought about...

ASA Watchouts: Take care when creating advertisements aimed at children, for example, encouraging 'pester power' or poor nutrition habits or involving alcohol, weight loss, health claims or nutrition claims.

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

6. Misleading illustrations

6. Misleading illustrations

The rules

Labelling must not be misleading as to 'the characteristics of the food and, in particular, as to its nature, identity, properties, composition, quantity, durability, country of origin or place of provenance, method of manufacture or production'.

For example:

Don't: use illustrations that suggest the product contains an ingredient it doesn't, for example illustrations of fresh bananas in a product that only contains artificial banana flavour.

Don't: use an incorrect place of origin, for example illustrations of Italy for pasta made in China.

NEW: information must not mislead 'by suggesting, by means of the appearance, the description or pictorial representations, the presence of a particular food or an ingredient, while in reality a component naturally present or an ingredient normally used in that food has been substituted with a different component or a different ingredient'.

Have you thought about...

Whether your illustrations marry up to the consumer's expectations of the product?

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

7. Front of pack nutrition labelling ('FoP')

7. Front of pack nutrition labelling ('FoP')

Only the following nutrition information can be repeated outside of the main nutrition table:

  • the energy value; or
  • the energy value together with the amounts of fat, saturates, sugars, and salt.

A UK FoP nutrition labelling scheme has been developed, which combines this information with colour coding and percentage reference intakes.

The Department of Health, Welsh Government, Scottish Government and FSA have published joint step by step guidance to creating FoP nutrition labelling (view the guidance here).

Have you thought about...

Whether FoP nutrition labelling will benefit your product?

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

8. Nutrition claim

8. Nutrition claim

A nutrition claim is any representation that states, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties due to:

  • the energy (calorific value) it provides, provides at a reduced or increased rate, or does not provide; and/or
  • due to the nutrients or other substances it contains, contains in reduced or increased proportions, or does not contain.

Making a nutrition claim

You may only make nutrition claims listed in the Annex to the Nutrition and Health claims Regulation and must ensure that the conditions of use are met.

View our step by step flow chart to see if you can make a nutrition claim >

Have you thought about...

Whether your product can benefit from any of the 29 permitted nutrition claims?

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

9. Additional statements

9. Additional statements

Additional statements are required in certain circumstances. Some of these have been amended by FIC, so we have set out the new wording below in red:

Food types Statement required
Foods containing aspartame/ aspartame-acesulfame salt 'contains aspartame (a source of phenylalanine)' or 'contains a source of phenylalanine'
Beverages containing caffeine in excess of 150 mg/l (except coffee or tea) 'High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women (x mg/100 ml)'
Foods other than beverages, where caffeine is added with a physiological purpose 'Contains caffeine. Not recommended for children or pregnant women (x mg/100 g)'
Foods with added phytosterols, phytosterol esters, phytostanols or phytostanol esters 'with added plant sterols' or 'with added plant stanols'

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

10. Nutrition declaration

10. Nutrition declaration

Below we have set out the required format for nutrition declarations for the new FIC regulations:

New FIC Format Per 100 g/ml
Energy x kJ/ x kcal
fat x g/ml
of which
Saturates x g/ml
Monounsaturates [if applicable] x g/ml
Polyunsaturates [if applicable] x g/ml
Carbohydrate x g/ml
of which
Sugars [if applicable] x g/ml
Polyols [if applicable] x g/ml
Starch [if applicable] x g/ml
Fibre x g/ml
Protein x g/ml
Salt x g/ml
Vitamins and minerals In accordance with Annex XIII include % of RI/NRV

'Per serving' values also permitted in addition to per 100g/ml.

Have you thought about...

The fact that nutritional declarations will be mandatory from 13 December 2016? If declared voluntarily prior to this, the new FIC format must be used from 13 December 2014.

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

11. Durability indication

11. Durability indication

What type of durability indication do you need?

All products, unless exempted need to have a durability indication.  This can be either a 'use by date', if the product has a short life or is highly perishable and likely to cause a risk to health immediately after the use by date, or if this is not the case you can use a 'best before date'.

NEW: You are no longer required to have the durability date in the same field of vision as the product name, and other mandatory information.

View our step by step flow chart to ensure you have a compliant durability date indication >

Storage conditions

Provide appropriate storage conditions or conditions of use!

Have you thought about...

The new requirements to indicate:

  • use-by on individual pre-packed portions; and
  • date of freezing?

Although common practice already, have you also thought about the new requirement to provide storage conditions/time limit for consumption after opening?

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

12. Ingredients list

12. Ingredients list

What must you do... What can you do... What don't you need to do...
Head the list with the word 'Ingredients' Use a generic name for specified permitted categories of food (e.g. cheese, herbs, spices, etc.) List ingredients for exempt foods, e.g. single ingredient foods; fresh fruit and vegetables; carbonated water; vinegar; cheese; butter; flour etc.
List ingredients in descending order of weight Declare processing aids
Name constituent ingredients of a compound ingredient
Identify additives

Have you thought about...

  1. The new requirements to label nanomaterials and the source of vegetable oil or fat and MCTs?
  2. The new generic name for 'mechanically separated meat'?

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

13. Quantitative Indication of Ingredients (QUII)

13. Quantitative Indication of Ingredients (QUII)

QUII (currently referred to as Quantitative Ingredient Declaration or QUID) must be declared in three circumstances, where the ingredient:

  • appears in the name of the food or is usually associated with that name by the consumer;
  • is emphasised on the labelling in words, pictures or graphics; or
  • is essential to characterise a food and to distinguish it from products with which it might be confused because of its name or appearance.

Have you thought about...

The new requirement to QUII non-prepacked meat products?

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

14. Other claims

14. Other claims

There are many claims available to marketers that are not controlled by law.

Some are governed by UK Guidance or recommendations and others by the general rule not to mislead, e.g:

  1. Free from preservatives – must not mislead.
  2. No artificial colours or flavouring – must not mislead.
  3. Use of the terms 'fresh', 'natural', 'pure', 'traditional', 'original', 'authentic', 'real' and 'genuine', 'home-made', 'farmhouse', 'hand-made', 'premium', 'finest', 'quality' and 'best' - refer to FSA Guidance on Criteria for the Use of the Terms Fresh, Pure, Natural etc. in Food Labelling.

Have you thought about...

Whether or how you can substantiate any claims?

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

15. Allergens and 'may contains'

15. Allergens and 'may contains'

If any of the 14 prescribed allergens are contained in the product:

  1. They must be emphasised in the ingredients list using typeset that distinguishes the allergens from other ingredients by means of font, style, background colour, underlining, or emboldening. For example, Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Barley, Sugar.
  2. The name of the allergen must follow the ingredient or additive name if its presence might not otherwise be obvious to the consumer. For example, Sodium Caseinate (Milk), tilapia (Fish) E322 (Soya).
  3. New: Allergen boxes are prohibited but they can still be used to signpost allergens in the ingredients list, for example 'For Allergens see ingredients highlighted in bold'.

    NB: 'May contains' advisory statements may still be used where risk assessments reveal a demonstrable and significant risk of allergen cross-contamination.

    The 14 allergens which must be declared are:

    • cereals containing gluten: wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut;
    • crustaceans;
    • eggs;
    • fish;
    • peanuts;
    • nuts;
    • soybeans;
    • milk;
    • celery;
    • mustard;
    • sesame seeds;
    • sulphur dioxide;
    • lupin; and
    • molluscs.

Have you thought about...

The new requirement to declare allergens in non-prepacked foods?

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

16. Selling in multiple jurisdictions

16. Selling in multiple jurisdictions

Languages

If you sell in other member states, mandatory information must appear in a language easily understood by the consumers in that member state.

Remember - only a few member states accept English only labelling.

Nutrition declaration

Nutrition declarations from non-EU countries such as the USA cannot be used in addition to the FIC prescribed Nutrition Table for products sold in the EU.

Have you thought about...

How many languages you need on your packaging? Do you need to rethink your distribution processes?

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

17. Other symbols

17. Other symbols

Consider whether your product meets the conditions to benefit from any other marks, such as quality marks:

  • geographic indications and designations of origin (e.g. scotch beef, champagne);
  • specific character (e.g. mozzarella, traditional farmfresh turkey);
  • organic;
  • vegetarian/vegan;
  • gluten free; and
  • recycling.

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

18. Health claim

18. Health claim

What is a health claim?

A health claim is a representation that states or implies that a relationship exists between a food and health. There are two types of health claim: specific (e.g. [x] is needed for maintenance of normal bones) and general (e.g. 'good for you').

How to make a specific health claim

You may only make a specific health claim that is on the permitted list of specific health claims authorised by the EU, all of which have conditions of use.

You do not have to use the exact approved wording provided the alternative has the same meaning to a consumer, however deviations from that wording increases risk. This is a high risk area and incredibly subjective.

How to make a general health claim

Check if there is a relevant specific health claim – without this, a claim cannot be made. If you do have a specific claim, you need to ensure you are meeting the conditions of use in order to make the claim, but remember:

  • The permitted wording should be positioned next to the general health claim – it can be altered slightly, but not so much that it would change the meaning for the consumer.
  • The health claim must be linked to the ingredient for which the claim is authorised - not the product as a whole.

Example of an acceptable health claim: Legal Loops contain a source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D supports normal growth and development of bone in children.

Example of an unacceptable health claim: Legal Loops make kids big and strong!

Remember: Pictures, symbols and single words can be health claims e.g. could imply a healthy heart.

Remember: if a product is high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS), a claim that the product is ‘healthy' will be higher risk.

Have you thought about...

The mandatory statements that must be made on pack when making a health claim, namely a statement. These include:

  • indicating the importance of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle;
  • the quantity of the food and pattern of consumption required to obtain the claimed beneficial effect;
  • if appropriate, a statement addressed to persons who should avoid using the food; and
  • an appropriate warning if the product is likely to present a health risk if consumed to excess.

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

19. Country of origin or place of provenance ('COO')

19. Country of origin or place of provenance ('COO')

Indication of COO is generally discretionary unless:

  1. Its absence is likely to mislead consumers as to the true COO, for example, the depictions of USA on hotdogs made in Poland.
  2. It is mandatory under other EU provisions: e.g. beef and beef products, honey, fruit and vegetables, fish and olive oil.
  3. NEW: the product is fresh, chilled or frozen meat of swine, sheep, goat or poultry.
  4. NEW: the COO is given and it is not the same as that of its primary ingredient. In this case:
    • the COO of the primary ingredient shall also be given; or
    • the COO of the primary ingredient shall be indicated as being different to that of the food.

Company name and address

The label must contain the name and address of

  1. the EU manufacturer/brand owner; or
  2. the EU importer in the EU if the manufacturer/brand owner is not established in the EU.

Have you thought about...

The possible future of COO labelling?

The EU Commission has commissioned viability reports for:

  • milk and milk used in dairy products;
  • meat used as an ingredient;
  • unprocessed foods;
  • single ingredient products; and
  • ingredients that represent more than 50 per cent of a food.

As a result it is quite likely that further laws will be created.

Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments.

Or why not sign up for our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

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