Allergen labelling changes - Advice for customers

Allergen labelling for prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) food 

Food Businesses need to display allergen labels on pre-packed for direct sale food for their customers. 
This is to provide essential information to help people with a food allergy or intolerance make safe food choices. 

What is Pre-Packed for Direct Sale

Prepacked for direct sale or PPDS is food which is packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to consumers and is in this packaging before it is ordered or selected.
It can include food that consumers select themselves (e.g. from a display unit), as well as products kept behind a counter and some food sold at mobile or temporary outlets.
Food is PPDS if: 
  • the food is fully or partly enclosed by the packaging
  • the food cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging
  • the food is ready for sale to the final consumer
Examples of this kind of packaging would be:
  • a cake completely wrapped in cling film
  • a sandwich placed in a paper bag with the bag folded over or twisted to encase the sandwich
  • rolls contained in a plastic bag that is tied with a knot or sealed
Food is not PPDS if it does not have packaging, or if it is packaged in a way that the food can be altered without opening or changing the packaging (for example a burger served on an open cardboard tray).
You may find pre-packaged for direct sale food at many establishments such as the following:
  • A bakery
  • A butcher
  • Mobile sellers and street vendors
  • Event caterers
  • Fast food and takeaway restaurants
  • Schools, colleges and nurseries
  • Restaurants, cafes and pubs
PPDS food labelling must describe the product, a list of ingredients and be marked clearly on the product. Allergens can be emphasised using bold type, capital letters, contrasting colours or underlined. As long as the handwriting meets the legal font size requirement, a business may continue to use handwritten food labels.
For example, a cheese and pickle sandwich in sealed packaging at a registered food business, has an allergen label attached which reads the following:
Example of a pre-packaged sandwich food label showing allergens in bold

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Labelling legislation is enforced by Trading Standards based within the County Council. All complaints about labelling issues must be directed to them, please visit the Trading Standards website.