What information do we have to show on the label?
There isn’t a general requirement to show particular information for every kind of product. However:
- retailers must display prices and quantities
- you may need to include safety information for potentially dangerous products
- there are special rules for some products, such as food
Any information you do include on the label must not be misleading
You can find more specific information on labelling on the Trading Standards Institute's
How accurate must the information on a label be?
Broadly speaking, providing false or misleading information is an offence. This includes inaccurate information about the nature of the product, quantities or prices. Your customer might also be able to make a claim against you if, for example, they relied on the information on the label when deciding to buy the product.
Does the label of imported goods have to say where they come from?
You are not generally required to label goods with their country of origin, though this is required for some products. If you do choose to show the country of origin, you must provide accurate information.
What are the rules on weights when individual package sizes vary?
If you are retailing packages that vary in size, you can choose to either sell by minimum quantity or by average quantity.
If you sell by minimum quantity, every packet must contain at least that amount.
If you are selling by average quantity, you must follow set rules:
- The average quantity must be at least the amount you claim.
- No more than 1 in 40 of the packs must be more than a specified 'tolerable negative error' (TNE) below the stated average. The TNE depends on the weight or size of the packages.
- None of the packages must be more than twice the TNE below the stated average.
In addition, if you sell by average quantity, you must carry out checks to ensure that you are complying with the rules, and keep records of the checks. You must also mark the packages with your name and address, and can choose to use the 'e' mark to show that you are complying with the rules.
What safety information must a label provide?
If you produce or supply potentially dangerous goods, you need to provide appropriate safety information. You might, for example, provide appropriate safety instructions.
In some cases, you are required to show safety information on the label. For example, if potentially dangerous goods are being transported by road or rail, the labels may need to carry appropriate safety information to ensure that the goods are handled properly.
There are also specific safety labelling requirements for certain products: for example, upholstered furniture, electrical goods and children's toys. You should take advice on the requirements for products you manufacture or distribute.
Are there any special labelling rules for particular kinds of product?
There are extensive labelling requirements for food products. There are also special labelling requirements for some potentially dangerous products.
There are specific labelling requirements for some other products. For example, shoes must be labelled with details of the materials used, and products made out of gold (and other precious metals) must be hallmarked. In addition, there are legal requirements to provide information for certain products - for example, the content of textiles - and this information is often provided using the label.
You should take advice on the requirements for products you manufacture or distribute.
Are there any special packaging rules for particular types of goods?
Special regulations apply to various types of goods, including potentially dangerous chemicals, medicines and food products. In general, special rules for particular products aim to ensure that the goods are safely packaged and that appropriate information is provided.
Your trade association should be able to advise you on specific requirements relating to your products. You may want to take advice on the implications for your business.