Allergen labelling changes: Advice for food businesses

Allergen labelling for prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) food

Food allergen labelling requirements for pre-packaged for direct sale food changed from 1 October 2021 in England. This affects businesses, as they need to display allergen labels on pre-packed for direct sale food for their customers. These changes 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 (for example from a display unit), as well as products kept behind a counter and some food sold at mobile or temporary outlets.

What does packaging mean here? 

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).

FSA Guidance

The Food Standards Agency has created some sector-specific PPDS guidance, including information for:
  • Bakers
  • Butchers
  • Event caterers
  • Fast food and takeaway restaurants
  • Mobile sellers and street food vendors
  • Restaurants, cafés and pubs
  • Schools, colleges and nurseries

Food Business Actions

If you are a registered food business operator you must provide allergen information about ingredients in the food you supply.
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. 
You may have printed food labels; however, plans must be in place if the printer does not work. As long as the handwriting meets the legal font size requirement, you may use handwritten food labels.
You can use software to make your own allergen labels

What should the PPDS food labelling look like?

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 food label on a pre-packaged sandwich

For more information please follow the links below: