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Food labelling and composition

We provide advice on food labelling and composition requirements to food businesses in County Durham.

Food labelling provides information to consumers on the content of the food they're eating. There are regulations which prevent manufacturers and suppliers producing misleading food labels or making false claims and they provide clear guidelines on what labels can show. 

To ensure standards are met, we carry out inspections at retail and catering establishments to check labelling and in some instances we take samples for testing. We also inspect producers, manufacturers, packers, distributors and wholesalers and give advice and assistance to help your business comply with legislation and improve your production systems. 

Legislation on food labelling

The Food Information Regulations 2014 (FIR) sets out what is required on your food labelling and helps you provide clearer information to your customers. 

What does it include?

The FIR states that all pre-packed food labelling must include mandatory information in English showing:

  • the name of the food
  • a list of ingredients, in descending order by weight
  • a percentage quantity indication for certain ingredients or categories of ingredients
  • a date of minimum durability or the 'use by' date
  • any special storage or use conditions
  • the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or seller
  • the place of origin
  • any instructions that are necessary to prepare the food
  • whether the product contains any ingredients that commonly cause allergies

Recent changes to the regulations mean that you also need to include:

  • mandatory nutrition labelling on pre-packaged food
  • country of origin information will be required for fresh, chilled and frozen meat of sheep, pigs, goats and poultry
  • improved date marking (including date of first freezing)
  • clarity and legibility of food information
  • labelling of non-pre-packed foods
  • allergen information, including on food sold loose

Ingredients list

You are required to give your customers a comprehensive ingredients list when they purchase loose foods. If you're a supermarket, delicatessen, restaurant or takeaway serving loose food you will need to supply information for every item you sell which contains any of the following 14 allergens:

  • celery
  • cereals containing gluten
  • crustaceans
  • eggs
  • fish
  • lupin
  • milk
  • molluscs
  • mustard
  • nuts
  • peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • soya
  • sulphur dioxide

Nutrition labelling

Currently nutritional information is only required on pre-packed food if a nutrition or health claim is made or when vitamins and/ or minerals are added to the food. The FIR must be followed in this instance or if nutritional information is provided on labelling voluntarily.

From 13 December 2016 it will become mandatory to provide nutrition labelling for pre-packed food, subject to certain exemptions. The Department of Health provides technical guidance on nutrition labelling

For further information and advice on food labelling please contact us.

Contact us
Food Safety
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Community Protection
  • Durham County Council
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
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