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Labelling And Packaging Requirements

Labelling prepacked food

A food label is required for all prepackaged food and certain mandatory information must be included. All food must comply with food labelling requirements. Also, all labelling must not be misleading and be accurate.

Product-specific regulations control certain foods. They include the following:

  • foods that contain genetic modification (GM)
  • irradiated food
  • sugars
  • spreadable fats
  • natural mineral waters
  • fish
  • meat products – pies, burgers, sausages
  • marmalade and jams
  • infant formula
  • nectars and fruit juices
  • honey
  • milk products
  • soluble coffee
  • chocolate and cocoa products
  • flour and bread

Information that must be included

By law, the information below must appear on food packaging and labels.

Name of the specific food

On the packaging, the name of the specific food is required to be clearly stated and cannot be misleading in any way.

If the law prescribes a certain name, then that is required to be used.

If there is no legal name, then a customary name may be used. It could be a name that consumers now commonly understand that has become established over time.

A descriptive name of a certain food is required to be provided if it does not have a customary name that is used. It is required to be sufficiently descriptive so that consumers are informed of the food’s true nature and so that it can be distinguished from other products that it could be confused with otherwise. Most products fall into this particular category, and therefore a descriptive name will be required.

If a food has been processed in any way, then the title must include the specific process. For example, ‘dried fruit,’ or ‘salted peanuts,’.

Processed food refers to foods that have been changed in some way during the preparation process.

List of ingredients

Any food product that contains at least two ingredients (including additives and water) is required to be listed under the ‘ingredients’ heading or another suitable heading containing the word ‘ingredients.’

Ingredients are required to be listed in the order of their weight. The main ingredient must be listed first based on the amount at was used for making the food.

There are certain foods that are exempt from having to include an ingredient list. They include foods comprised of just one ingredient, carbonated water, and fresh vegetables and fruit. As a side point labelling is not limited to just food, you can also get candle labels as well, see here for luxury candle labels.

Allergen information

Whenever a food product includes any of the 14 allergens as ingredients that must be declared by law, those allergens are required to be listed in the ingredients list and emphasised.

Allergens must be emphasised on the label by bolding the text or using a different background colour, style, or font. That allows consumers to better understand the ingredients contained in packaged foods. They help individuals with food intolerances and allergies to avoid specific foods.

QUID (Quantitative declaration of ingredients)

The QUID informs consumers of the percentage of specific ingredients that are contained within a food product. It is required when a category of ingredients or ingredient concerns:

  • appears in the food’s name or the consumer usually associated it with that name;
  •  is emphasised on the labels in graphics, pictures, or words; or
  •  is essential for characterising food and distinguishing it from products that it could be confused with due to its appearance name.

Indication of a category of ingredients or an ingredient’s quantity is required to be:

displayed in the form of a percentage that corresponds to the number of ingredients or ingredients at the time they were used and must appear either immediately next to or in the name of the food or list of ingredients associated with the category of ingredients or ingredients in question.