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Labelling

Food labels help consumers make informed choices about the products that they purchase by providing nutritional or consumer information. Labels also i
© International Culinary Studio

Food labels help consumers make informed choices about the products that they purchase by providing nutritional or consumer information. Labels also indicate any precautions they need to take for example storage or cooking instructions.

A food label contains information that is required by law and many countries have standard codes regarding labelling. Check out your country’s labelling legislation.

Food labels tell you:

  • What you are eating.
  • Any precautions you need to take, like storage or cooking instructions, date marks and whether the food has any allergens.
  • Information that is required by law.
  • The country of origin.
  • Advertising and nutrition claims.

Food labels must show:

  • The name of the food.
  • A lot number which identifies where and when the food was packaged or prepared and the batch.
  • A date mark.
  • The name and address of the supplier or business, who can be contacted if more product information is needed.
  • Mandatory warning statements, advisory statements, and declarations to identify certain ingredients or substances that may trigger allergies or be of concern.
  • An ingredient list, including any food additives such as preservatives, flavours and colours. Food additives should be identified by their function and name or code number (for example, ‘Thickener (pectin)’ or ‘Thickener (440)’).
  • A date marking (usually ‘Use By’ or ‘Best Before’ dates) for most packaged food with a shelf life of less than 2 years.
  • Directions for use and storage to ensure the food will keep for the period indicated by the date mark. Directions may include how you should store the food to stop it spoiling or reduce the growth of pathogens that may cause illness.
  • A Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) to allow you to compare the quantities of 7 key nutrients per serving, and per 100g (or 100ml (about 3.38 oz) if liquid).
  • The percentage of a product’s characterising ingredient, if relevant (for example, cocoa in chocolate or strawberries in strawberry yoghurt).
  • The net weight or volume.

Unlabeled food

Not all foods have to be labelled:

  • Small food packets like chewing gum.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Food sold in restaurants.
  • Food for catering.
  • Food packaged in the presence of the customer for example takeaway fish and chips.
  • Food delivered at the customer’s request for example pizza.
  • Food sold at a fundraising event or example a school gala.
  • Individual serve packages for example 12 packs of chips, although the outside package must have the required information.
  • Food made and packaged on the premise it is sold for example a bakery.
  • Whole or cut fresh fruit and vegetables in transparent packages. Although some food will not require a label, you may still be required to provide certain information specific to the product if the customer asks, such as:
  • Does the food contain an allergen?
  • How much of an ingredient is in a product for example how many apples in the apple pie?
  • How can I safely store and cook the product?
  • How long will the product last/use by date?

Activity

Give some thought to your packaging and labelling. Research the labelling legislation of your country. Once you have done this design your own packaging. What considerations have you given to the way in which you will package your product? Please comment and share these with other learners on the course with you.

© International Culinary Studio
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