What Retailers Need to Know About the Food Allergen Label Changes on October 1st

What Retailers Need to Know About the Food Allergen Label Changes on October 1st

Read Time: 4 Minutes


24 Aug 2021

From the 1st October 2021, prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) food labelling laws are set to change in Wales, England and Northern Ireland. We’ve created this no-nonsense guide to help you figure out whether these changes will impact your business and to ensure your labelling is compliant with the latest regulations in time for the change.


How Are Food Allergen Labels Changing from October 1st?

Currently, food allergens for PPDS food can be provided by any means, including verbally from staff when asked for by a customer. 

As of October 1st, any business that produces PPDS food will be required to label it with the name of the food and a full ingredients list, emphasising allergenic ingredients within the list.

The change is sparked by Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death, which was caused by an allergic reaction to a baguette that was not labelled for allergens. At the time, this was not a requirement.

With around 2 million people in the UK believed to suffer from food allergies, the new labelling law will help protect your customers and potentially save lives by providing them with essential information about the ingredients you use in your products.


October 1st food allergen label stickers and label printing


What is PPDS Food?

PPDS is food that is packaged in the same place it is sold to customers and is packaged before the customer places their order. This can include food that customers select themselves from a display unit or pre-packaged food items purchased from behind a counter.


Examples of PPDS Food

Common examples of PPDS food include:

  • Fresh bakery or sandwiches that are packed on site prior to a customer placing an order
  • Fast food packed before ordered that cannot be altered without opening the packaging
  • Products that are pre-packaged before sale such as pasta and salad pots and fresh pre-packed pizzas
  • Burgers and sausages pre-packed at a butcher shop
  • Free samples of food that are pre-packed before handing out to customers
  • Food that’s pre-packed but sold by the same supplier elsewhere, e.g. pre-packed food at a market stall
  • Pre-packed food in hospitals, care homes, schools and similar settings


What Foods Aren’t Classed as PPDS?

If the food you’re providing is not packaged or is packaged after the customer has placed their order, you won’t need to label the ingredients or allergens.

Allergen information must still be available for customers who ask and can be provided in other ways, such as verbally.

If food is packaged by one business and supplied to another business to sell on, this is not classed as PPDS. However, the original supplier will still need to include full ingredient labelling with allergenic ingredients emphasised on this type of product.


The New Food Labelling Law and Distance Selling

Distance selling refers to any product sold without face-to-face contact, for example over the phone, mail order or online. In food retail, this includes any takeaway business. 

The new labelling requirements coming into effect from 1st October will not apply to PPDS food sold via distance selling, however, it will still be mandatory for businesses selling pre-packaged food in this way to provide allergen information to the customer before they make a purchase and at the moment of delivery.

To supply this information before the customer places an order, you can have allergens listed on your website or menu, or provide them verbally over the phone.

At the point of delivery, it is recommended to communicate the allergens with stickers on the packaging or enclose a menu with allergens listed for the items ordered.


What Needs to Be on the Food Label?

To be compliant with the latest regulations, food labels need to include:

  • The name of the food item (e.g., egg mayonnaise sandwich)
  • The full list of ingredients
  • The 14 allergens emphasised (e.g., in bold text) within the ingredients list

The 14 allergens that are required to be shown by food law are: 

  • Celery
  • Cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats)
  • Crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Molluscs (such as mussels and oysters)
  • Mustard
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame
  • Soybeans
  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million) 
  • Tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts)


Print Compliant Food Allergen Labels Now!

If your products are currently produced without ingredient labels, don’t despair. Printing allergen information for PPDS product packaging is quick, easy and affordable, especially if you print stickers online. instantprint stickers are available for delivery in just two working days and are come in a variety of sizes to suit your packaging. Check out the full range and create compliant food allergen labels ready for October 1st today.



About the Author

Hi, I’m Craig, instantprint’s Marketing Manager. I have a passion for discovering new and innovative ways small business owners can give their marketing a boost.