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Allergen and ingredients food labelling decision tool

This food labelling tool will help you to identify the type of food your business provides and the allergen labelling requirements.

Food labelling requirements for prepacked for direct sale food (PPDS) will change from 1 October 2021 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Use this labelling tool to find out whether the changes apply to your business and what you need to do.

 


Distance selling

Food sold via distance communications is not affected by the changes to prepacked for direct sale labelling. 

This sale or transaction is classed as distance selling, whether it is prepacked for direct sale or another category of food. This can include food that is ordered online, by mail or by telephone, and then delivered to the consumer.

Food sold in this way is already subject to allergen labelling requirements. Allergen information must be provided at two stages:

  • before the purchase of the food is completed - this can be in writing (on a website, catalogue or menu) or orally (by phone)
  • at the moment the food is delivered - this can be in writing (allergen stickers on food or an enclosed copy of a menu) or orally (by delivery driver).

Food businesses selling prepacked foods through distance selling need to make the same level of information on allergens available to consumer as when the food is bought from a retail environment. For example, this could be included on your website or in your catalogue.

Food businesses selling non-prepacked foods or prepacked for direct sale food through distance selling will need to provide allergen information but not a list of ingredients.

Whatever the chosen method of presentation, you must always ensure that the allergen information is current and accurate.

The applicable rules for all food sold through distance means are contained within Article 14 of the Food Information Regulations.

We have more information on specific allergen information requirements for distance selling in our food allergen labelling and information requirements technical guidance.

Food businesses can also use our food safety for food delivery advice to avoid cross-contamination in delivery. 

PPDS distance selling

The food is provided to the consumer in person.


Non-prepacked food

This is non-prepacked food.

This includes but is not limited to food without any packaging, such as loose fruit and vegetables, bread that is sold without wrapping, and food packed on the sales premises at the consumer's request after being selected or ordered.

In a retail environment this is likely to apply to foods which are sold from a delicatessen counter. This includes cold meats, cheeses, quiches, pies and dips, salad bars, bread or pastries sold without wrapping.

In a catering environment this is likely to apply to foods which are not sold prepacked, for example food from a takeaway, or meals served in a canteen or a restaurant.

Allergen information for non-prepacked food can be communicated through a variety of means to suit the format of the food business. You are required to provide information about the use of the 14 allergens if they are present in a food. You are not required to provide a full ingredients list.

Where food businesses chooses for this information to not be provided upfront in a written format, the food business must use clear signposting to direct the customer to where this information can be found such as asking members of staff. In such situations there must be a statement that can be found on food menus, chalkboards, food order tickets or food labels.

We have more information on specific allergen labelling requirements for non-prepacked food in our food allergen labelling and information requirements technical guidance.

PPDS cafe with variety of food items

The food is packed.


Non-prepacked food

This is non-prepacked food.

This includes but is not limited to food without any packaging, such as loose fruit and vegetables, bread that is sold without wrapping, and food packed on the sales premises at the consumer's request after being selected or ordered.

In a retail environment this is likely to apply to foods which are sold from a delicatessen counter. This includes cold meats, cheeses, quiches, pies and dips, salad bars, bread or pastries sold without wrapping.

In a catering environment this is likely to apply to foods which are not sold prepacked, for example food from a takeaway, or meals served in a canteen or a restaurant.

Allergen information for non-prepacked food can be communicated through a variety of means to suit the format of the food business. You are required to provide information about the use of the 14 allergens if they are present in a food. You are not required to provide a full ingredients list.

Where food businesses chooses for this information to not be provided upfront in a written format, the food business must use clear signposting to direct the customer to where this information can be found such as asking members of staff. In such situations there must be a statement that can be found on food menus, chalkboards, food order tickets or food labels.

We have more information on specific allergen labelling requirements for non-prepacked food in our food allergen labelling and information requirements technical guidance.

PPDS Environmental Health Officer inspecting cafe

The food is prepacked.


Prepacked food

This is prepacked food.

We have more information on specific labelling requirements for prepacked food in our food allergen labelling and information requirements technical guidance. This contains details of the 14 allergens (mandatory particulars) required to be emphasised on packaging by food law, and guidance for the presentation of these. This includes format and font size requirements.

Some foods do not require an ingredients list, such as alcoholic drinks with more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol. In this case the presence of any substances or products derived from the 14 allergens which is present, and not clear from the name of the food, needs to be indicated.

Labelling for prepacked food which is not produced on site will usually be produced by the food manufacturer. If you require clarification of labelling on such prepacked products, talk to your supplier.

For more information, read our allergen labelling guidance for food manufacturers

PPDS prepacked food bag of cookies

Prepacked for direct sale

This food is prepacked for direct sale

This is food which is packaged at the same place it is offered to consumers and is in the packaging before it is ordered or selected. It can include sandwiches and salads packaged by the food business and provided from the same premises. It can also apply to fast food is wrapped or packaged before a customer selects them, or supermarket products which are produced and packaged in store.

This can be food that customers select themselves, as well as pre-wrapped products kept behind a counter. It can also include some food sold at mobile or temporary outlets. 

Important

Food labelling requirements for prepacked for direct sale food will change from 1 October 2021 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

All prepacked for direct sale food will need to have a label showing: 

  • the name of the food
  • a full ingredients list with the 14 allergens required to be declared by food law emphasised on the ingredients list if present.

We have more information on specific allergen labelling requirements for prepacked for direct sale food and what your business needs to do before 1 October 2021 in our allergen information for prepacked for direct sale guidance.

PPDS prepacked for direct sale cheese and onion sandwich