Food labels must include a list of all the ingredients that were used to make the product.
Ingredients lists are always listed in order of weight, starting with the largest ingredient and ending with the smallest.
All food ingredients used, including water and food additives, must be clearly labelled in the list, although some exceptions exist.
Ingredients lists also include the name of any foods which are known to cause an allergy.
These foods may also be listed again in a separate box or highlighted in some way.
For example, some food labels display ‘may contain’ warnings to highlight that the product may include traces of foods known to cause an allergic reaction.
Other specific information which is required by law to appear on the labels of food products in the UK include:
- name of food
- weight or volume
- name and address of manufacturer, packer or seller
- place of origin
- lot number
- GM ingredients
- ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates *
- storing and preparing food instructions *
- defrosting and cooking times *
* Consumers should pay special attention to these as they are included to help reduce the risk of food poisoning.