This set of guidelines for labelling sandwiches and food to go products under the new Food Information regulations has been published by the British Sandwich & Food to Go Association. (Correct as at 17/11/2021).

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The guidelines are designed to help member businesses comply with the regulations, which came into effect 14 December 2014 and which mean that sandwich bars, cafes and catering operators will in future need to provide more information to consumers.

Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. General Labelling Requirements
  3. When is Labelling Required?
  4. Manner of Marking or Labelling
  5. Names of Products
  6. Ingredients Lists
  7. Net Quantity
  8. Nutritional Labelling
  9. Nutrition Claims
  10. Other Claims
  11. Additive Declarations
  12. Date Marking
  13. Allergen Information
  14. GM Ingredient Declaration
  15. Other Legal Requirements
Definitions:

Manufacturer – a business that makes sandwiches and food to go products at one or more central locations which are then sold through third-party owned outlets.

Central Production Unit – a site where sandwiches and food to go products are manufactured for retail through the business’ own retail or catering outlets

Sandwich Bar – where sandwiches and food to go products are made on site, or at a central production unit owned and run by the same business, for direct sale to the end consumer.

Sandwich Retailer – a business that sells sandwiches and food to go products which are bought in for resale from a manufacturer

1. Introduction 

1.1 This guidance has been prepared by The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association for use by enforcement officers solely in relation to advice on labelling to be given to producers and sellers of sandwiches and food to go products (e.g. filled rolls, baps, baguettes, French sticks, pittas, ciabattas, wraps etc.). This guidance is not intended to cover other products such as quiches, pizzas, pies etc.

1.2 The guidance has been produced in consultation with Government and local authority bodies, including the Food Standards Agency, the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Health. Monmouth County Council has also helped to co-ordinate local authority views.

1.3 The guidance has also been approved under the Primary Authority Scheme and is part of the Assured Advice programme managed by the British Sandwich & Food to Go Association in partnership with Slough Borough Council. This means that those members of the Association following this guidance cannot be directly challenged by other local authorities on interpretation of the regulations.

1.4This guidance primarily relates to compliance with legal requirements. However, it also includes best practice advice which appears in blue in the text. Best practice guidance is intended to provide greater clarity for consumers. However, compliance with best practice guidance is not a legal requirement.

1.5 This guidance is based on the requirements of the EU Regulation (No. 1169/2011) on the provision of Food Information to Consumers (EU FIC) and the Food Information Regulations 2014.

 

2. General Labelling Requirements 

 

Responsibilities

2.1 The business or person whose name the food is marketed under is responsible in law for the food information provided on the label. So, if a sandwich is made by a manufacturer but sold under the name of a retailer or brand name, the responsibility for ensuring the accuracy of the label rests with the retailer or brand owner. The manufacturer would, however, remain responsible if the product is sold under its own name or a brand name it owns.

2.2 Generally manufactured prepacked sandwiches and food to go products are required to be labelled with the following information:

(a) the name of the food*

(b) a list of ingredients

(c) QUID declarations (where appropriate), normally within ingredients list but can also be next to the name of the food

(d) a date mark (which can also act as the lot mark)

(e) storage advice (if appropriate)

(f) instructions for use (if appropriate)

(g) the name and address of the operator or business responsible for the food information

(h) a list of additives (if appropriate)

(i) identification of irradiated ingredients (if present)

(j) identification of genetically modified ingredients (if present)

(k) the presence of specified allergic ingredients, which must be highlighted

(l) a nutrition declaration

NOTES: * where the term “name of the food” appears throughout this document this refers to the true nature/legal name of the food.

2.3 Sandwich and food to go products that are made on the premises and prepacked for consumers to pick up for themselves (other than being made to order) must be labelled with the following information:

(a) the name of the food*

(b) a list of ingredients

(c) the presence of any allergic ingredients, which must be highlighted

(d) identification of irradiated ingredients (if present)

(j) identification of genetically modified ingredients (if present)

2.4 When sandwiches and food to go products are sold prepacked – whether manufactured or made on the premises - they must state the name of the food in such a way as to clearly indicate its true nature and to distinguish it from products with which it could be confused. It may, in addition, bear a “marketing” or “fancy” name [e.g. “BLT”] but care must be taken not to mislead consumers by over simplifying names. It is good practice to state an appropriate description (such as Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato) alongside the ‘marketing’ or ‘fancy’ name to avoid any confusion.

2.5 The only exemption from labelling is where foods are sold across a counter and packed specifically for the customer but, in this case, the information on ingredients and allergens must be readily available to customers either on menus or orally.

2.6 The name given to the product must be its true legal or, in the absence of a true legal name, its customary name. Where no such name exists, the name given to the product must provide the key information that consumers need to make their choice. This needs to include the presence of major ingredients (e.g. meat, cheese etc.) and characterising ingredients (e.g. sun-dried tomatoes, mayonnaise etc.) that could govern consumer choice.

2.7 It is likely to be considered misleading if the name of the food omits to declare the processed nature of major ingredients that might affect the consumer’s assessment of character and quality.

2.8 Care must be taken with illustrations on labels or packs that these do not mislead consumers. For example, a generic illustration of mixed salad, including a tomato, might be considered misleading if the sandwich within did not contain tomato.

3. When is Labelling Required? 

3.1 Full labelling (i.e. that set out in paragraph 2.1 above) is necessary in relation to prepacked sandwiches and food to go products produced by a manufacturer but sold through a third-party outlet and which are sold in their original packaging.

3.2 Reduced labelling (i.e that set out in paragraph 2.3 above) may be used where sandwiches and food to go products are:

(i) produced, pre-packed and sold within the same retail premises; or

(ii) produced at a central location and sold (prepacked for direct sale or non-prepacked) by staff directly employed by the same business via shops, vans or office delivery rounds; or

(iii) produced and delivered non-prepacked to a retail premise (e.g. from a central bakery to retail premises owned and run by the central bakery) and then sold non-prepacked from those premises.

(Note: Additives need to be declared in the ingredients list of reduced labelled sandwiches and food to go products but can be simplified to their ‘technogical function’ (e.g. sweeteners) and then the E-numbers or name of the additive stated afterwards)

3.3 Vending machines – Although there is no specific provision for vending machines, consumers should be able to clearly see the ingredient and allergen information prior to purchase and it is strongly recommended that vending machines should have a ‘menu’ with the “name of the food” as well as the basics set out for limited labelling (3.2) unless this information can be clearly read on the product pack from the outside of the machine. The sandwiches and food to go products themselves will be prepacked and must be fully labelled.

3.4 Whilst some sandwiches and food to go products require reduced labelling under the regulations any names or descriptions applied must comply with the general provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990 and other trading standards legislation which prohibit false and misleading labels, descriptions (including verbal descriptions) and descriptions in advertisements.

[ NOTE: The term “prepacked food” is defined in the Food Information to Consumers Regulation as “consisting of a food and the packaging into which it is put before being offered for sale, whether such packaging encloses the food completely or only partially, but in any event in such a way that the contents cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging; prepacked food does not cover food packed on the sales premises at the consumer’s request or prepacked for direct sale’ Similarly “prepacked for direct sale” has been defined under LACORS guidance as “ prepacked by a retailer for sale by him on the premises where the food is packed or from a vehicle or stall used and operated by those working directly for him”].

3.5 It is good practice for retailers and manufacturers to provide as much information as possible on labels to help consumers make a reasoned choice. 

3.6 Where reduced labelling is used, retailers should ensure that those selling the sandwiches and food to go products direct to the consumer are fully briefed on information (e.g. ingredients, allergens etc.) to enable consumers – some of whom may have allergies  or other concerns about certain ingredients – with all the information they require to make a proper selection. It is good practice for staff to have access to a reference folder or similar checklist so that they can handle customer inquiries accurately.

4. Manner of Marking or Labelling 

4.1 For all fully and reduced labelled sandwiches and food to go products, the required information must be marked:

(i) on the packaging; or

(ii) on a label attached to the packaging; or

(iii) on a label that is clearly visible through the packaging.

4.2 For sandwiches and food to go products sold loose (e.g. across a counter and packed at the request of the customer)  do not require labelling but the information on ingredients and allergens must be easily available to consumers, such as on a menu or orally.

4.3 This required information must be marked in a conspicuous place, be easy to understand, indelible, clearly legible and not hidden, obscured or interrupted by other written or pictorial matter. It is also a requirement that in the case of packaged sandwiches and food to go products this information must be printed in characters using a font size where the x-height is equal to or greater than 1.2mm.

In the case of packs or containers where the largest surface area is less than 80 cm2, the x-height of the font can be equal to or greater than 0.9 mm

4.4 Under the Regulations, the previous field of vision requirements have been amended. It is now a requirement that the following shall appear in the same field of vision:

  • The name of the food
  • The net quantity (not applicable in the case of sandwiches and food to go products)

4.5 Good Practice would be to continue to include the name of the food, date mark and storage conditions within the same field of vision, as outlined in the FSA Clear Food Labelling Guidance - Click here to view the PDF

4.6  In the case of hot foods or those prepared for heating, the same rules apply.

Products designed to be reheated by the consumer should be marked with the appropriate reheating instructions.

5. Names of Products 

5.1 The name of the food is a key labelling requirement for all foods and can take the form of:

  • a name prescribed by law (in practice this is only likely to apply to sandwiches and food to go products containing certain seafood, fish and meat products as ingredients);
  • where there is no name prescribed by law, a customary name may be used (i.e. names that have become commonly understood by consumers and established over time such as BLT –bacon, lettuce and tomato); or
  • where no customary name exists, a name that is sufficiently descriptive to inform the consumer of the true nature of the food and to enable it to be distinguished from products with which it could be confused.

5.2 Most sandwiches and food to go products will fall into category (iii) and require a descriptive name. Further guidance on the true names of sandwiches and food to go products and of sandwiches and food to go products with meat ingredients is set out in Annexes A and B.

 

6. Ingredients Lists 

6.1 Where a list of ingredients is required, the list must be headed by the word “Ingredients” and the contents must be listed in descending order by the weight of each ingredient at the time the sandwich was prepared. Because of the manual nature of some elements of sandwich making, it is generally accepted that some of the quoted in-going quantities will be subject to variation. Sandwich producers, however, should control ingredients proportions as accurately as is reasonably practicable given the size and scale of the business and the available technology.

6.2 The name used for an ingredient (excluding brand names) must be the name that could be used as the name of the food if that ingredient itself was being sold as a food.

6.3 Compound ingredients are ingredients that are themselves made up of more than one ingredient (e.g. bread, chicken roll, sausages, mayonnaise).

6.4 The full list of ingredients of a compound ingredient needs to be incorporated in the product ingredient list. This can be done by stating the compound ingredient name followed by (in brackets) its ingredient list or by omitting the compound ingredient name and giving one combined ingredients list. Some compound ingredients can be listed as generic names only.

6.5 There are some special exemptions for a few ingredients if they are present in amounts of less than 2% of the product as sold. These are:

  • ingredients for which their composition is prescribed in EC Law (i.e. honey, jam)
  • herbs and spices or mixtures of both
  • foods which do not require an ingredients list (e.g. cheese, butter)

For these ingredients only the compound food name and any additives or allergens they contain need to be listed.

6.6 Quantitative Ingredient Declarations (QUID) within ingredients lists must be made when the following criteria apply:

(i) the ingredient is included in the name of the food and is usually recognised under that name by the consumer (e.g. Ham and Cheddar Sandwich) except in relation to some ingredients such as mustard, mayonnaise etc. or where variation in quantity would not influence consumer choice; or

(ii) the category of ingredient is included in the name of the food (e.g. Cheese

Salad Sandwich); or

(iii) an ingredient/category of ingredient is given emphasis on the label in words,

pictures, or graphics (e.g. made with extra sun-dried tomatoes).

6.7 QUID should be the average or typical figures based on the weight of the ingredient at the stage at which the sandwich is being assembled expressed as a percentage. The % declaration usually appears in the ingredients list but may alternatively appear either in or immediately next to the name of the food.

6.8 In the case of products that are Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS), the only item that needs to be QUID declared as a percentage would be the meat content.   This needs to be declared as the percentage meat content of the product as a whole.

6.9 If ingredients have been irradiated, this fact must be declared either on the product or by means of an accompanying notice. The wording to be used is either “irradiated” or “treated with ionising radiation”. Similarly, if an ingredient is present in the form of nano-materials, this fact must be indicated in the list of ingredients.

7. Net Quantity 

Although the Regulations require that net quantities should be declared on products, it is accepted by the Government that sandwiches and food to go products can be sold by number as it would be impractical to provide weights on sandwiches and food to go products due to the way they are made. Under the Regulations it is permitted for products to be sold by number if there is a tradition of selling by number (Annex IX in 1169/2011). It is, however, important that consumers can clearly see from the pack what they are purchasing.

8. Nutrition Labelling 

Mandatory

8.1 It is a requirement that the following mandatory nutrition information must be provided on manufactured prepacked products expressed as per 100g or 100ml as a minimum. The information may additionally be provided per portion (e.g. half a sandwich) and/or per consumption unit:

  • Energy value
  • Fat
  • Saturates
  • Carbohydrate
  • Sugars
  • Protein
  • Salt

This information would normally appear in tabular form on the back of a prepacked sandwich pack.

8.2 In addition to the mandatory information listed above, the Regulations allow for voluntary supplementary nutrition information to be given on the amounts of one or more of the following:

a) mono-unsaturates

b) polyunsaturates

c) polyols

d) starch

e) fibre

f) any of the vitamins or minerals present in significant amounts as allowed in current legislation, expressed both as an absolute amount and as a percentage of the reference intakes in relation to per 100 g or per 100 ml.

8.3 The mandatory nutrition declaration and the list of supplementary nutrients must be in the same field of vision, presented together in a clear format and in the following order:

  • Energy
  • Fat
  • Saturates
  • Carbohydrate
  • Sugars,
  • Protein
  • Salt

8.4 Percentage reference intakes (% RIs) can also be given on a per 100g/ml and/or per portion basis. RIs are benchmarks for the amount of energy and key nutrients that can be consumed on a daily basis in order to maintain a healthy diet. Where % RI information is provided on a per 100g basis, the statement ‘Reference intake of an average adult (8400kJ/2000kcal)’ is required to be displayed in close proximity to it.

8.5 The information must be presented in tabular format with the numbers aligned, if space permits. Where space is limited, the information can appear in linear format.

Voluntary “front of pack” nutrition labelling

8.6 the Regulations also allow for some of the mandatory nutrition information to be repeated in the principal field of vision (commonly known as “Front of Pack”) in one of the one following two formats:

a) energy value alone; or

b) energy value plus amounts of fat, saturates, sugars and salt

No other information is allowed.

8.7 The information provided “Front of Pack” (FoP) must meet the following criteria:

  • Energy should be declared on its own or as ‘energy + 4’ (fat, saturates, sugars and salt) and must always be presented per 100g. When declared on its own, energy may additionally be declared per portion. When the four nutrients in ‘energy + 4’ are expressed per portion only (see below), the energy component must be expressed both per 100g and per portion.
  • Energy values must be expressed both in kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcal).
  • The information on the other four nutrients can be provided per 100g only; per 100g and per portion; or per portion only. Energy levels can be calculated through analysis of the product by the manufacturer; from a calculation based on the known or actual average values of the ingredients; or a calculation from generally established and accepted data. In the sandwich industry analysis of the finished product is generally accepted as the best approach because of the complex mix of ingredients used.
  • Percentage reference intakes (%RIs) can also be given on a per 100g/ml and/or per portion basis. (RIs are benchmarks for the amount of energy and key nutrients that can be consumed on a daily basis in order to maintain a healthy diet). Where % RI information is provided on a per 100g basis, the statement ‘Reference intake of an average adult (8400kJ/2000kcal)’ is required to be displayed in close proximity to it.

The reference intakes (RIs) for adults for use on Front of Pack nutrition labels are:

Energy 8,400kJ/2,000kcal

Total fat 70g

Saturates 20g

Carbohydrates 260g

Sugars 90g

  • Voluntary front of pack nutrition labelling cannot be given on its own - it must be provided in addition to the full mandatory (“back of pack”) nutrition declaration, which comprises energy, fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt (Article 30(1) and (3) of EU FIC).

8.8 It is good practice to provide front of the pack nutrition information in accordance with the UK Government’s 2013 recommendation on front of pack labelling. This recommendation includes the use of percentage RIs and colour coding (red = high, amber = medium and green = low) for the four nutrients (not energy). Further information can be found in guidance to creating front of pack labels via the following link: Click here to view the PDF

8.9 The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association supports this approach.

8.9 It is good practice for sandwich makers and retailers to display energy information on the front of packs or at point of sale, if at all possible. Care must, however, be taken to ensure that the information provided conforms to acceptable tolerances so as not to mislead consumers. Further information can be found in guidance on tolerances – see Click here to view the PDF

8.10 In sandwich bars energy information may be provided on shelf-stickers, menu boards or written menus at point-of-purchase.

8.11 Wherever nutrition information is stated, the amount of each nutrient must also be given.

9. Nutrition and health claims 

9.1 Nutrition and health claims made on foods are tightly regulated to ensure that consumers are not misled by unsubstantiated, exaggerated or untruthful claims.

Regulation EC No. 1924/2006 defines how nutrition and health claims can be made in labelling, advertising, promotional campaigns and other commercial communications

9.2 Claims may be made (and any other promotional information given) provided that they are true and not misleading.

9.3 Useful Links:

Nutrition labelling in the event of a nutrition or health claim

9.4 If a claim is made, Article 7 of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 makes it obligatory to provide full nutrition labelling for prepacked food. See section 7 above on mandatory labelling and sections 4.2 and 5.1 of the Department of Health guidance to compliance with Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 for more information about providing nutrition labelling.

9.5 Separate rules apply under the Food Information Regulations 2014 to claims made on non-prepacked food (including food prepacked for direct sale and packed at the consumer’s request):

9.6 The Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006) will exempt all non-prepacked food (including food prepacked for direct sale and packed at the consumer’s request) from nutrition labelling in the event of a claim. However, any claims on non-prepacked food would still have to comply with the conditions of use set out in the Regulation, as set out below.

9.7 Nutrition and health claims are only permitted if they are listed in the UK Health Claims Register and conform to the conditions of use set out in the UK Register. 

9.8 Example of complying with ‘conditions of use’: If a food business operator wishes to make a ‘low fat’ claim on a sandwich prepacked for direct sale, they must ensure they comply with the conditions of use as set out in the EU Register( i.e. a claim that a food is low in fat, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product contains no more than 3g of fat per 100 g for solids or 1.5 g of fat per 100 ml for liquids (1.8 g of fat per 100 ml for semi-skimmed milk).

9.9 No nutrition labelling is required on a sandwich prepacked for direct sale to a consumer. However, the food business operator will need to ensure that the product does not contain more than 3g of fat per 100g in order to make a ‘low fat’ claim.

10. Other Claims 

10.1 Care should be taken in relation to the use of marketing terms such as “fresh”, “fresh today”, “freshly made” etc. Advice on the use of these terms has been provided by the FSA in a document entitled Criteria for the use of the terms fresh, pure, natural which can be accessed at: Click here to view the page

10.2 The FSA guidance states that “expressions such as “freshly cooked”, “freshly prepared”, “freshly baked”, “freshly picked” should have no other connotation than the immediacy of the action being described. Where such expressions are used, it is recommended they are accompanied by an indication (e.g. of the date or time period – “freshly made this morning”) of when the action being described took place.

10.3 The terms “fresh today” should only be applied to products sold a maximum of 24 hours from the time of production and “freshly made” should only be applied to products made and sold within 12 hours of placement for sale.

11. Additive Declarations 

11.1 Manufactured prepacked sandwiches and food to go products must indicate the presence of additives by stating the category names followed by the specific additive name or E number in the ingredients list. Sequestrants are now also included within this requirement.

11.2 Sandwiches and food to go products that are non-prepacked and prepacked for direct sale must also indicate the presence of additives such as antioxidants, colourings, flavour enhancers, preservatives or sweeteners, it is considered good practice to do so if this information can benefit consumers. This can be done on the label or by means of a specific notice to this effect displayed in association with the food and/or at the point of sale.

12. Date Marking 

12.1 Fully labelled manufactured prepacked sandwiches and food to go products (other than those prepacked for direct sale to consumers) are required to carry a “use by” or “best before” date marking.

12.2 A “use by” date must be applied to products with fillings that are highly perishable and are likely, from the microbiological point-of-view, to become unsafe to consume if not eaten within a short period. Examples would include egg, meat, fish, pates, soft cheese etc.

12.3 In practice sandwiches and food to go products will generally require a “use by” date. As a guide, if any ingredient being used has a “use by” date this will trigger this form of date marking. It should be noted that sale after the expiry of the ‘use by’ date is deemed to be ‘unsafe’ under the Food Safety Act 1990.

12.4 Alteration of a “use by” date may be a prosecutable offence. Any person who alters a ‘Use By’ date takes responsibility for the revised date and must add their name and address to the label.   It is possible for retailers to alter a “use by” date for charity donations, provided that it is safe to do so – see BSA Assured Advice ‘Reducing Food Waste in the Sandwich Industry’.

12.5 The ‘use by’ date of any sandwich must never exceed the safe storage time of any of its ingredients. Furthermore, if an ingredient supplier states a ‘use by’ date after ingredient packs have been opened, this is the date that must be observed.

12.6 Sandwich makers should be able to prove through shelf-life testing that the ‘Use-by’ date they have stated is appropriate to the date they have given the product. Click here to view the PDF

12.7 It should be noted that failure to comply with regulations in relation to “use by” dates carries a maximum statutory fine in a magistrates court.   There is no limit to fines in a county court, which can also impose prison sentences of up to two years.

12.8 Please note that a ‘best before’ date might be applied to sandwiches and food to go products with less perishable fillings (such as jam).

12.9 The ‘Use By’ mark must state the date up to and including that which the product will remain safe to eat in terms of the day and month (e.g. “Use by 31 December” means until midnight on 31st December).

12.10 It should be noted that Defra has ruled that the term ‘Use by end of’ is not permitted under the FIR, although labelling could include a statement alongside the ‘Use by’ date stating that the product can be sold and consumed up to midnight on that date. The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association is seeking an exemption to allow the term ‘end of’.

12.11 If the product has to be stored in a certain way in order to remain safe to eat up to its ‘Use by’ date, then storage conditions must be given (e.g. “keep refrigerated”) and/or a reference to the maximum storage temperature.

12.12 Those operating under Reduced Labelling are generally exempt from providing a use by/best before date as the product will normally be consumed within 24 hours. (See Annex 10 (1)(d) of the original regulations, 1169/2011 – not the current version – see here). If this is not the case, then the annex 10 exemption would not apply.

13. Allergen Information 

13.1 The FIR require that both products that require full or reduced labelling must state if they contain any specified allergic ingredients - see list at Appendix C.

13.2 Allergen information may be displayed on a label, menu or notice board provided this information is readily available to consumers. Alternatively, where sandwiches and food to go products are sold non-prepacked, staff working in a café or sandwich bar may provide the information verbally. If the information is not provided on a label, shelf- talker or similar device alongside the sandwiches and food to go products, there must be clear signposting to where the information can be obtained, whether it is provided in writing or orally. However, the information must be accurate and verifiable upon challenge by consumers or enforcement officers. This means that there must be a process in place for providing this information.

13.3 Under the provisions of the FIR any prepacked food containing a specified allergenic constituent (with the exemption of some derivatives) must make this clear in the ingredient list by marking it in a type that distinguishes it from other ingredients. This can be done by way of a different font, style or background colour – so long as it stands out from the rest of the list. Allergenic ingredients must also be clearly stated – see Annex C – such as Whey Powder (milk) or miso paste (soya).

13.4 It is good practice to take account of visual impairments that consumers may suffer from – such as colour blindness – when selecting colours.

12.5 Allergen information must be declared within the ingredients list and may not be repeated elsewhere on labelling. It must also be provided in writing and not in a pictorial form. However, signposting to the allergen information within the ingredients list is permitted (e.g. a statement that reads “Allergy Advice – see ingredients in bold”)

13.6 Where no ingredient list is required, allergen information can be made available in writing, such as on a menu board or leaflet, or verbally. Where information is provided in writing, products should be clearly marked with the word ‘contains’ and then the name of the allergen.

13.7 In determining what needs to be declared, where prepared ingredients and compound foods are brought in from suppliers, these are required to be fully labelled under the legislation. However, sandwich makers are advised to check with suppliers whether or not their products contain any of the prescribed allergens, particularly where ingredients are coming from outside the EC. It is generally considered good practice for sandwich businesses to include this requirement as part of their procurement procedures.

13.8 It is also important to follow good manufacturing practice to avoid cross contamination with allergenic ingredients. Where the possibility of cross contamination cannot be avoided, additional warnings of the possibility may be advisable.

13.9 Under the FIR, allergen information must be available wherever sandwiches and food to go products are provided, whether for sale or catering purposes. It is generally considered good practice for this information to be provided at the point of choice, either on the pack, on a shelf card/label or on a menu. It is considered the retailer or caterer’s duty of care to make sure that the information is clearly visible and available for allergen sufferers.

13.10 Additional information on how to provide allergen information, including templates for charts, can be found on the British Sandwich & Food to Go Association website at www.sandwich.org.uk.

14. GM Ingredient Declaration 

14.1 Genetically modified foods are those which contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or ingredients derived from GMOs. In all sandwiches and food to go products the presence of any such ingredients must be declared to the consumer wherever and however they are sold. There are prescribed forms of words which must be used.

14.2 For fully labelled manufactured prepacked sandwiches and food to go products containing GMOs or GMO ingredients either the words “contains genetically modified organisms” or “contains genetically modified X” must appear on the label. In addition, where the sandwich bears an ingredient list the specific ingredients which are GMO or derivatives must be indicated by the words “genetically modified” or “produced from genetically modified X”. These statements must follow the name of the ingredient or be associated with it (e.g. linked with it by an asterisk).

14.3 For sandwiches and food to go products with reduced labelling, the appropriate indications (i.e. “genetically modified” or “produced from genetically modified X”) will need to be given on an associated notice, label or a menu indication. This information needs to be product specific. A general notice to ask staff for information is not sufficient.

15. Other Legal Requirements 

15.1 The Food Safety Act 1990; parts of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968; the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and EC Regulation 178/2002 prohibit false or misleading labels, descriptions and advertisements. This includes cover menus, price lists, blackboards and verbal descriptions. These are in addition to the specific requirements of the Food Information Regulations 2014.

15.2 It is particularly important to ensure that the images or graphics on labels and packs do not mislead consumers, particularly in situations where generic labels/packs are being used. It is the sandwich maker’s responsibility to ensure that packs and labels do not mislead.

Annex A: Food Names 

 

1. General Principles

Bread: From the nature of their preparation and presentation, the consumer is usually visually able to determine when white wheat flour bread has been used in sandwiches and food to go products and, where this is so, it is not generally necessary to specify this type of bread in the name of a sandwich. However, for other types of bread where the nature of the bread is not visually clear and can easily be confused, the type of bread and/or the species of grain used should be included in the full name (e.g. malted brown bread, oatmeal bread etc.).

NOTE: “Wholemeal” and “Wheat germ” have specific meanings as defined in the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998.The FSA have produce guidance on these Regulations which can be accessed: Click here to view the PDF

Compositional Standards: Certain ingredients have legal compositional standards set out in the Food Information Regulations 2014 or in other legislation, such as the Meat Products Regulations 2003. Where there is a compositional standard, there are often reserved descriptions for products meeting a specified composition. In these circumstances, the reserved description/name should be used as part of the name of the sandwich. Examples of such ingredients include many meat products, such as corned beef, sausages and burgers as well as cheeses, such as Cheddar and Gloucester. It should be noted that these names may only be used for products meeting these compositional standards.

1.3 Protected Names: Some names have a protected status under PDO/PGI/TSG legislation which can cover origin, method of production and composition. The protected name may only be used where a product meets all the conditions of the protection and must be used as the name. PDO relates to protected designations of origin; PGI relates to protected geographical indications; and TSG relates to traditional speciality guaranteed.

1.4 Name of the Food: There is no requirement for the name of the sandwich to reiterate the ingredients list but the name should accurately describe the product and inform the consumer about the key value or characterising ingredients. As a general rule the way in which ingredients are named by ingredient suppliers will act as a guide to how the sandwich itself should be described.

1.5 Ingredient Names: These should not be changed or enhanced. For example:

  • brown bread should not be described as “wholemeal”
  • margarine and other fat spreads should not be described as “butter”
  • cheese substitutes should not be described as “cheese”
  • processed cheese should not be described as “cheese”
  • cured pork shoulder should not be described as “ham”
  • chicken roll should not be described as “chicken”
  • ham containing added water should not be described as “dry cured”.

2. Processes: Best Practice Guidance

Where an ingredient has been subject to a characterising treatment or process care needs to be taken to indicate this accurately and in a manner which cannot mislead. For example:

  • steam cooked and flash roasted meats should be described accurately (e.g. cooked and roasted beef) and not be simply described as “roast”;
  • reformed ham must be described must not be described as “traditional”;
  • ham, chicken or turkey containing added water, hydrolysed proteins and starch etc. must be described as such (e.g. processed ham, reformed ham) and not simply as ‘ham’, ‘chicken’ or ‘turkey’;
  • ingredients treated with smoke solution/smoke flavour should be described as ‘smoke flavoured’ and not simply as being “smoked” without further qualification.

 

Annex B: Summary of FSA Advice to LACORS on the Labelling of Sandwiches and food to go products Containing Meat Ingredients – August 2006 

For both prepacked and non-prepacked sandwiches and food to go products, apart from where sandwiches and food to go products are made and sold at catering establishments, a true nature name of the food is legally required.

It is good practice for the true nature name of the food to be stated next to the fancy name. This is consistent with the FSA Clear Food Labelling Guidelines.

Where the true nature name of the food is not placed next to the fancy name, or is not sufficiently prominent to be easily seen, then best practice is for the fancy name to be more informative to provide sufficient information for consumers to make a reasoned choice.

It is considered good practice for catering establishments to be similarly explicit on any menus, tickets or notice boards.

It is a legal requirement to make the following clear on labels:

  • Contains added water - where water amounts to over 5% of a product that has the appearance of a cut, joint, slice, portion or carcase of meat or a cut, joint, slice, portion, fillet or of a whole fishery product (e.g. “ham with added water”).
  • Contains proteins of animal origin from a different animal species to that of the meat (e.g. “chicken with pork protein”, “ham with milk protein”).
  • State when meat is reformed (e.g. “reformed ham”, “chicken roll”, “processed ham”). 

Annex C: Allergens Schedule 

1. Cereals containing gluten (i.e. wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut or their hybridised strains); except for

(a) wheat-based glucose syrups including dextrose#

(b) wheat-based maltodextrins#

(c) glucose syrups based on barley

(d) cereals used for making distillates or ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin for spirit drinks and other alcoholic beverages.

2. Crustaceans and products thereof (e.g. prawns, crabs, lobster, crayfish etc.)

3. Eggs and products thereof

4. Fish; except for

(a) fish gelatine used as a carrier for vitamin or carotenoid preparations

(b) fish gelatine or isinglass used as a fining agent in beer and wine

5. Peanuts and products thereof

6. Soybeans and products thereof, except for:

(a) fully refined soya bean oil and fat

(b) natural mixed tocopherols (E306), natural D-alpha tocopherol, natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate, natural D-alpha tocopherol succinate from soya bean sources

(c) vegetable oils derived from phytosterol esters from soya bean sources

(d) plant sterol ester produced from vegetable oil sterols from soya bean sources.

7. Milk and products thereof (including lactose); except for

(a) whey used for making distillates or ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin for spirit drinks and other alcoholic beverages

(b) lactitol

8. Nuts, namely almonds (Amygdalus communis L.), hazelnuts (Corylus avellana), walnuts (Juglans regia), cashews (Anacardium occidentale), pecan nuts (Carya illinoisis (Wangenh) K.Koch), brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa), pistachio nuts (Pistacia vera), macadamia or Queensland nuts (Macadamia ternifolia)

9. Celery and products thereof (includes celeriac, celery spice, celery seeds etc.)

10. Mustard and products thereof

11. Sesame seeds and products thereof

12. Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at concentrations of more than 10 mg/kg or 10mg/litre expressed as SO²)

13. Lupin and products thereof

14. Molluscs and products thereof (includes mussels, oysters, whelks, scallops etc.)

# The exception only applies to products derived from these products in so far as the process they have undergone is not likely to increase the level of allergenicity assessed by the European Food Safety Authority for the relevant product from which they originated.

References: 

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