Labelling food products

Labelling law for specific food products

There are numerous other pieces of legislation that you may need to consider when developing and labelling your food products. Some food products are covered by specific labelling legislation including:

  • organic food
  • genetically modified (GM) food
  • bread and flour
  • honey
  • fruit juices and nectars
  • jams and preserves
  • meat products - eg pies and sausages
  • quick frozen food
  • medical foods
  • infant formula and follow-on formula
  • baby foods

Organic food
Food products can only be labelled as 'organic' if they meet certain requirements. Labels on food sold as organic must indicate the certification body that the processor or packer is registered with.

The use of the organic production logo of the EU is mandatory for all pre-packed organic products that have been produced in any EU Member States.

GM Foods
There are special rules for labelling foods that contain GM ingredients.

Bread and flour
The Bread and Flour Regulations lay down labelling and compositional standards for the products they apply to.

The Honey Regulations determine when a product can be labelled as 'honey' and lay down additional labelling requirements for honey products.

Fruit juices and nectars
The Fruit Juices and Fruit Nectars Regulations include requirements for labelling covering matters like the use of the terms 'fruit juice' and 'fruit juice from concentrate'.

Jams and preserves
The Jam and Similar Products Regulations require residual sulphur dioxide to be declared in the list of ingredients if it is present at levels greater than 10 milligrams per kilogram.

Meat and meat products
There are special labelling requirements for meat and meat products under the Products Containing Meat etc. Regulations. The requirements include meat ingredient declarations and information about added ingredients.=

Quick frozen foods
The Quick Frozen Foodstuffs Regulations include special labelling requirements for quick frozen foods. Certain information must always appear on the label.

Medical foods, formula milk and baby foods

There are special rules on the composition, labelling and advertising for each of the four specific food categories:

  • infant and follow-on formula
  • processed cereal-based food and baby food
  • medical foods (foods necessary for the dietary management of particular medical conditions)
  • total diet replacement for use in energy restricted diets for weight reduction

It has been necessary to revise the rules to take account of food manufacturing and scientific developments, and the adoption of new pieces of legislation. The legislation on fortified food, nutrition and health claims, and food information for the consumer are particularily important.

The Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations include special labelling requirements designed to help avoid confusion. Download guidance notes on the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations 2007 (PDF, 253K).