Trade Advice Document
Trading advice from several sources is available to help businesses comply with the law.
The Health and Safety Executive website has advice on:
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute provides advice on a number of topics:
Food labelling for bakers
In the guide
- Labelling for irradiated / GM foods
- Bread labelling
- Cake & confectionery labelling
- Labelling of savoury products, meat pies & sausage rolls
- EU protected food names
- Allergen declaration
- Gluten free & low gluten claims
This guidance is for England
Bread, cakes, savoury products, meat pies and sausage rolls sold loose from bakers must be marked with their name, any indication of irradiation or genetically modified ingredients, and any allergens present. The name of bread must indicate the type of bread it is.
Savoury products, meat pies and sausage rolls must also be labelled with a percentage indication of any meat ingredients (known as QUID - quantitative ingredient declaration).
Food or ingredients that have been irradiated must be declared and labelled 'irradiated' or 'treated with ionising radiation'.
If any of the food contains genetically modified ingredients, it must either be labelled 'produced from genetically modified ingredients' or this statement must appear on a notice, label, or ticket near the food.
Name of bread
Bread, made from wheat flour and other than white bread, must have a notice on it that clearly and conspicuously tells customers which type it is - for example:
- brown bread
- wheatgerm bread (must contain 10% added wheatgerm)
- wholemeal bread (all the flour used must be wholemeal)
- soda bread
It is illegal to use the name 'wheatmeal bread'.
Brand names such as 'Hovis' and 'Granary' are insufficient on their own.
Other types of bread where the flour is not wholly wheat flour must be appropriately described - for example, rye bread.
Names of cakes
Cakes are required to be labelled with their name. You must ensure that the description is true and accurate; some examples are below:
- it is important to realise that the words 'flavoured' and 'flavour' have very different meanings - for example, 'vanilla flavoured icing' derives its flavour only from real vanilla, but 'vanilla flavour icing' is synthetically flavoured. If neither word is used (vanilla slice, for example) the flavour must be only from natural vanilla
- the cream in cream cakes must be wholly dairy cream. If any artificial or imitation cream is used, the name of the cake must be qualified accordingly
- imitation cream and imitation chocolate must not be described as cream or creme, chocolate or choc
If you sell savoury products, meat pies, and/or sausage rolls, they must be labelled with a name that accurately describes the food. Meat products require a declaration of the percentage of meat that has been used as an ingredient, also known as QUID ('quantitative ingredient declaration'). This should be declared for each type of meat - for example, 'chicken and vegetable pie - contains 7% chicken'. Please see 'Composition of meat products' for more detail on this, and for a list of products that don't require such a declaration.
Cornish pasties and traditional Cumberland sausages have been accredited with protected status. Any products using this name must comply with the compositional and/or origin requirements. More information on protected food names is available on the GOV.UK website.
All bread, cakes and meat products will require an allergen declaration if they contain any of the 14 specified allergens in the list below. This can be given on individual tickets for each item or in the form of a list on a poster, blackboard, etc. Alternatively a notice can be displayed advising that allergen information is available on request.
The 14 specified allergens are:
- cereals containing gluten, such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut, and their hybridised strains
- peanuts (also called groundnuts)
- nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamias and Queensland nuts
- sesame seeds
- milk and milk products (including lactose)
- soy beans
- sulphur dioxide and sulphites at levels above 10mg/kg or 10mg/litre expressed as SO2
Please see 'Specified allergenic ingredients - Q&A' for more information.
Foods advertised as 'gluten free' or 'very low gluten' have to comply with specific labelling and compositional requirements. This applies to all foods, whether sold loose or prepacked. Detailed information on labelling of 'gluten free' foods is available on the Food Standards Agency website.
Failure to comply may result in an improvement notice being issued, requiring compliance to be achieved. If the improvement notice is not complied with it is an offence under the Food Safety Act 1990. The maximum penalty is a fine and two years' imprisonment.
If allergen information does not comply with the requirements it is an offence under the Food Information Regulations 2014. The maximum penalty is a fine.
- Bread and Flour Regulations 1998
- EU Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on food additives
- EU Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers
- Food Information Regulations 2014
Last reviewed / updated: December 2016
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text.
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The county council is not responsible for this information.