Frequently Asked Questions

Food Labelling Changes

1. Why are label rules changing?
So that there are the same rules in each Member State in Europe. This makes trade easier. General labelling rules have been streamlined across the EU by the Food Information to the Consumer Regulation (FIC) which became law on 13th December 2011. In Britain the new Regulation revokes twenty seven other regulations and changes many more.
2. When do all the changes happen?
Although the regulation was passed in 2011, to give food businesses time to get ready for the changes, the Commission timed various parts of the Regulation to come into force gradually. Most of the requirements will be enforced from 13th December 2014. More come in in 2016.
3. What must I put on my food labels?
Then there are the twelve things that must go on every label – but with certain exceptions – also there are the special codes and on top of all that there are limits on the wording that can be used and even how goods are displayed. Ignorance is not an excuse.
4. How do I know what date I should put on my labels?
There are several types of date mark, use by, best before and sell by or display until. It is illegal to sell some products after their durability date. The regulations and official guidance on durability dates can easily be found in our guidance together with some advice on how to determine a durability date.
5. I don't sell pre-packed foods, do I have to comply?
sausages cooking
Yes, from 13th December 2014 all food businesses will need to tell customers about any of the 14 recognised allergens deliberately included in the food they sell.
6. So what is the fuss about allergen labelling?
Until now, allergen declarations have been displayed on packets in different places. There have also been cases of customers at cafés/restaurants suffering allergic reactions because they were not aware of allergens in the food. The new law demands a common approach to allergen labelling and obliges all food businesses to tell consumers about allergens in their food.
7. What does this mean for my business?
It means that allergens, durability dates and many other things have to be declared in special ways on labels. That fonts must be more than a certain size and a mass of other detail. It means that if you produce foods after December 2014 and they are not labelled right you are committing an offence. All food businesses including caterers and those who sell non-prepacked foods have obligations.
8. I change the menu every day, how can I tell people about allergens?
There are several acceptable methods of giving allergen information to your customers. We have agreed an acceptable method with the government. This can be accessed from the allergen page of our site.
9. Does this new regulation cover all the requirements for food labelling?
The answer is simple. It does not. It does not mention claims (like "low fat") or any of the thirty plus separate regulations for certain products (like jams, wines etc.). There are over one hundred other rules that have to be obeyed and each has its own guidance documents.
10. So how do I find out about the new rules?
We have gathered new and existing labelling regulations text, official guidance and information into one place. There are well over two hundred documents.
  • We cover the twelve requirements of the FIC for labelling and guidance on how to implement them on our site
  • Our example labels help you get your labelling right
  • Our labelling checklist reminds you what information you may need to include on your labels
Two weeks access now!

For £20 you get access to the whole site for two weeks so you can check up on your labelling queries.

Secure payment with a Paypal Account for immediate access - if you prefer to pay with a card, email us for a Paypal invoice, you will then get your two weeks access after we manually add your details.

There is no commitment to further payments.

Back to top