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Nutrition labelling

Northern Ireland specific
It is mandatory for nutrition information to be declared on prepacked food. In Northern Ireland, the FSA is responsible for nutrition labelling. District Councils enforce these regulations in Northern Ireland.
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The Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) means that EU Food Law relating to nutrition labelling, composition and standards applies in Northern Ireland, as detailed in Annex 2 to the NIP. This information applies to Northern Ireland only.

For England DHSC are responsible for nutrition labelling, Welsh Government in Wales and Food Standards Scotland have responsibility in Scotland. Local Authorities enforce these regulations in England, Wales and Scotland.

Mandatory information

When providing nutrition information, you are required to declare:

  • energy value
  • amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt

The content of the mandatory nutrition declaration can be supplemented with an indication of the amounts of one or more of the following:

  • monounsaturates
  • polyunsaturates
  • polyols
  • starch
  • fibre
  • certain vitamins or minerals present in significant amounts as outlined in Regulation 1169/2011 - Part A of Annex XIII

There are certain foods which are exempt from this requirement which can be found in Annex V to the Food Information to Consumers (EU) Regulation N. 1169/2011. Exemptions relate mainly to minimally processed foods and those with little nutritional value. Food directly supplied by manufacturer of small quantities of products to the final consumer or to local retail establishments directly supplying the final consumer is also exempt under Annex V point 19.

For further information on this we provided questions and Answers on the nutrition requirements contained in Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (FIC). 

Applies to Northern Ireland only, for England DHSC are responsible for nutrition labelling, Welsh Government in Wales and Food Standards Scotland have responsibility in Scotland. Local Authorities enforce these regulations in England, Wales and Scotland.

Presentation of nutrition information

Nutrition information should be presented in the following way:

  • in tabular format with the numbers aligned 
  • where space does not permit, the declaration may appear in linear format 
  • energy value must be expressed in kilo joules (kJ) and kilo calories (kcal) and the amount of the nutrients must be expressed in grams (g)
  • all elements must be included next to each other. The elements must be presented together in a clear format and, where appropriate, in the order of presentation provided for in Annex XV to EU FIC. Nutrition information must be expressed per 100 g/ml, using the measurement units specified in Regulation 1169/2011
  • vitamins and minerals must be expressed per 100g/ml and as a percentage of the reference intake (RI) 

Calculation of nutrient values

The legislation allows for different methods of calculating the nutrient values. It does not necessarily require laboratory analysis and it may be possible for a food business operator to calculate the values themselves depending on the type of product.

Declared values must be based on:

  • manufacturer's analysis of the food
  • calculation from the known or actual average values of the ingredients used
  • calculation from generally established and accepted data

The declared values in the nutrition table are average values to take into account of the natural variation in foods. The European Commission produced guidance on tolerances for the control of compliance of nutrient values declared on a label with EU legislation.

The nutrient values must be for the food as sold. Where appropriate the information may relate to the food after preparation-when sufficiently detailed preparation instructions must be given and the information should relate to the food as prepared for consumption.

Conversion factors for the calculation of the energy value are given in Annex XIV of 1169/2011

Front of pack nutritional labelling

Where nutrition information is declared on the label, certain nutrients can be repeated in the principal field of vision usually on the front of the food packaging. This information is voluntary. 

If a food business chooses to provide this additional declaration, only the following information may be provided:

  • energy only
  • energy along with fat, saturates, sugar and salt

The repeated information may be provided in the following formats:

  • per 100g/ml only
  • per 100g/ml and per portion 
  • on a per portion basis only

Energy must always be indicated per 100g/ml as a minimum.

Front of Pack Nutritional Labelling Consultation 

In Northern Ireland, the FSA leads the current UK ‘multiple traffic light’ front of pack nutritional labelling scheme. This scheme is recognised as an important tool in supporting consumers to better understand the nutrient content of their food and drink.

The FSA in partnership with Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Food Standards Scotland and the Welsh Government launched a four nation Front of Pack Nutritional Labelling consultation in July 2020. 

The aim of this consultation was to gather views and evidence to help inform any future improvements to the ‘multiple traffic light’ label and to ensure the UK's label remains the most effective at informing healthier choices. 

The consultation closed in October 2020 and the consultation responses are currently being analysed. Please visit this page again soon to download the outcome to this public consultation.
 

Further information

The Department of Health provides guidance on nutrition labelling. The European Commission provide further guidance on 1169/2011.

EU Guidance document on tolerance values for nutrition information and a Summary Table of tolerance values.