East Lothian Council

Food labelling


This page gives information about the labelling of food packaged for retail sale from premises other than at the place of packing by retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers.

What labelling is required?

Requirements vary from product to product and are very complex. However, there are certain basic requirements for all food labels.

General requirements - the information on the label must be:

  • easy to understand
  • clearly legible
  • indelible 
  • easily visible

Certain information must be contained in the buyer's field of vision (i.e. the area of the label they can see without moving their eyes or head), including:

  • the name of the food (this must not be interrupted by other words or pictures)
  • its durability
  • date marking
  • quantity (probably marked in metric)

Food name - the one required by law or a customary name. (If neither of these apply, the name must be precise enough for the buyer to easily understand the food's true nature and tell it apart from products with which it could be confused.)

A brand name/fancy name can still be used if it is followed by a descriptive name.

List of ingredients - in descending order by weight.

Quantitative ingredient declaration (QUID) - indicating the quantity (in percent) of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients where they:

  • appear in the name of the food
  • are emphasized on the label in words or pictures
  • are essential to characterise the food

Minimum durability indication - i.e. a 'use by', 'best before' or 'best before end' date. This is required together with:

  • a lot or batch number
  • information on the presence of any allergens
  • any special storage or use conditions
  • the name and address of manufacturer, packer or seller
  • place of origin, if its omission could mislead
  • any instructions that are necessary to use the food

John Muir House, Haddington, EH41 3HA

Telephone: 01620 827365

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.