UK Food Label Compliance Guidance for Greengrocers (England and Wales)

UK Food Label Compliance Guidance for Greengrocers (England and Wales)

Now that the UK has left the EU, what do you need to do to comply?

Though, some legislation has changed, there are still some EU legislations that won’t be changed within labelling of your products. Therefore, on official guidance there will still be references to the EU.

It is important to note that as Natasha’s Law requires; any allergens used as a preservative must be highlighted and displayed within the ingredients list to comply.

So, what is the guidance?

Fruit and vegetables on sale, must be appropriately indicated and adequately described with their ‘True Name’.

Most fruit and vegetable are labelled with their class but some need to eb labelled with country of origin and variety if applicable. Care should be taken to ensure that any claims/ descriptions made such as ‘Organic’, are correct. The required labelling should be displayed appropriately either on the shelf edge or notice with the food for example.

So, what are the main rules?

  • True name – Adequate descriptive name of the product on-sale.
  • Irradiation – Declaration and labelling of food/ ingredients that have been treated with ionising radiation ‘irradiation’.
  • Waxed Fruit/ Other Treatment – These should be clearly labelled as such treatments that have been applied; for example, waxed lemons or beetroot dipped in vinegar.
  • Country of Origin/ Place of Provenance - These should be marked as failure to do so could be misleading.
  • Cut, Peeled or Similarly treated pre-packed fruit and vegetables – These are required to have a list of ingredients with any preservatives or solutions declared in the labelling. The only exception is when the product is made up of one single ingredient.
  • Allergens – Sulphur Dioxide and Sulphites must be highlighted within the ingredients list if they have been used as preservatives. The same applies to anything used from the 14 allergens listed within Natasha’s Law in order to fully comply.
  • Organic – Any fruit and vegetables declared as organic, can only be sourced from; producers, importers or processors that have been properly inspected and approved by a body authorised by the Government. Labelling any food that has not been sourced via those means is an offence and not ‘organic’.
  • Weights and Measures – Fresh fruit and vegetables must be sold in kilograms. Pre-packed products must have a net weight marked within the packaging or container. Large bulk products that are not pre-packaged must be sold by net or gross weight. (Guidance examples and exemption information can be found here.)
  • Marketing Rules and Grading – Labelling of class, origin and variety is required by EU law for most fruit and vegetables. The Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate is the governing source that enforces these requirements. The marketing rules are broken down into two sectors; Specific Marketing Standard (SMS) applying to 10 produce types and General Marketing Standard (GMS) applying to most other fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs. Other areas including distance selling are covered and details of inspection areas within the government legislation that you may need to follow. (Full detailed government legislation can be found here.)
  • Trading Standards – Must be appropriately followed in compliance with labelling and selling of products. (Guidelines in full can be found here.)

(The Food standards Agency (FSA) guidance on importing fruit and vegetables can be found here.)

So, how can I make sure I comply without having to pull products?

There are many print companies who now offer software solutions to make sure their customers not only get great labels and quality, but can be confident that their products have every piece of information in the correct format to be able to sell their products and not have to pull them.

Tolarus software has many benefits with its intricate nutrition, ingredients, products and auto-allergen bolding design. It also has a label design software built-in for you to trial new products and make changes quickly. Working with Wessex Labels and Epson, you know you are getting everything you need to produce products worth remembering.

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