Food labelling and composition
Food labelling can be very specific but as a general rule, the following advice applies:
Loose foods and foods pre-packed by yourself must display the name of the food, which must be accurate and unambiguous. You will also need to indicate any additives used, such as flavouring, flavour enhancers, preservatives, flour improvers, colours, anti-oxidants or sweeteners.
Pre-packed foods, other than those you have pre-packed yourself, may require:
- a best before or use by date. Best before dates are mainly for foods whose quality decreases over a medium to long shelf life, such as cakes and biscuits. Use by dates are for foods which deteriorate rapidly and may end up posing a risk to health, such as chilled meat products
- a list of ingredients
- the name and address of the person putting the product into circulation
- any storage conditions
- any previous process or treatment, for example ¡f previously frozen
There are specific requirements for declaring the percentages of certain ingredients. For instance, where an ingredient is highlighted in the name of a food, e.g. 'apple and ginger chutney' the percentages of apple and ginger would have to be declared on the label.
There are also specific requirements regarding the inclusion of genetically modified and irradiated ingredients.
Meat products require a label showing their minimum meat content or, in the case of cured meat, their added water content. For farmers' markets, this is a chance for exploiting any superior meat content of your product over those that are available in the high street.