Basic Food Labeling Requirements

I  always consult this article whenever I am designing a new label for our new product. You may also find it useful.



Excerpt from: CODEX STAN 1-1985 (Rev. 1-1991)

Packaged food shall not be described or presented on any label or in any labeling in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its character in any respect.
Food shall not be described or presented on any label or in any labeling by words, pictorial or other devices which refer to or are suggestive either directly or indirectly, of any other product with which such food might be confused, or in such a manner as to lead the purchaser or consumer to suppose that the food is connected with such other product.


The following information shall appear on the label of packaged foods as applicable to the food being labeled.

Name of the Food
1. The name shall indicate the true nature of the food and normally be specific and not generic:
2. In other cases, the name prescribed by national legislation shall be used.
3. In the absence of any such name, either a common or usual name existing by common usage as an appropriate descriptive term which was not misleading or confusing to the consumer shall be used.
4. There shall appear on the label either in conjunction with, or in close proximity to, the name of the food, such additional words or phrases as necessary to avoid misleading or confusing the consumer in regard to the true nature and physical condition of the food including but not limited to the type of packing medium, style, and the condition or type of treatment it has undergone; for example: dried, concentrated, reconstituted, smoked.

List of Ingredients
1. Except for single ingredient foods, a list of ingredients shall be declared on the label.
2. The list of ingredients shall be headed or preceded by an appropriate title which consists of or includes the term ‘ingredient’.
3. All ingredients shall be listed in descending order of ingoing weight (m/m) at the time of the manufacture of the food.
4. Where an ingredient is itself the product of two or more ingredients, such a compound ingredient may be declared, as such, in the list of ingredients, provided that it is immediately accompanied by a list, in brackets, of its ingredients in descending order of proportion.
Net Contents and Drained Weight
The net contents shall be declared in the following manner:
(i) for liquid foods, by volume;
(ii) for solid foods, by weight;
(iii) for semi-solid or viscous foods, either by weight or volume.

In addition to the declaration of net contents, a food packed in a liquid medium shall carry a declaration in the metric system of the drained weight of the food. For the purposes of this requirement, liquid medium means water, aqueous solutions of sugar and salt, fruit and vegetable juices in canned fruits and vegetables only, or vinegar, either singly or in combination.

Name and Address
The name and address of the manufacturer, packer, distributor, importer, exporter or vendor of the food shall be declared.

Country of Origin
The country of origin of the food shall be declared. When a food undergoes processing in a second country which changes its nature, the country in which the processing is performed shall be considered to be the country of origin for the purposes of labeling.

Lot Identification
Each container shall be embossed or otherwise permanently marked in code or in clear to identify the producing factory and the lot.

Date Marking and Storage Instructions

The following date marking shall apply:
(i) The “date of minimum durability” shall be declared.
(ii) This shall consist at least of:
• the day and the month for products with a minimum durability of not more than three months;
• the month and the year for products with a minimum durability of more than three months. If the month is December, it is sufficient to indicate the year.
(iii) The date shall be declared by the words:
• “Best before…” where the day is indicated;
• “Best before end…” in other cases.

Instructions for Use
Instructions for use, including reconstitution, where applicable, shall be included on the label, as necessary, to ensure correct utilization of the food.

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