The Codex Alimentarius (FAO/WHO) report on food labelling gives information on the legal
requirements and food standards.
Example of a typical label
Date of manufacture
and best before date
Brand name and logo
Date of manufacture:
Best before end: 04/08
Mango, salt, turmeric,
sunflower oil, mustard
seed, fenugreek seed,
454g 1lb e
Ingredients list in
descending weight order
Net weight and
European e mark
Figure 6: Details on a food label.
Definition of terms used in the Codex standard of labelling
For use in Date Marking of prepackaged food:
Date of Manufacture means the date on which the food becomes the product as described.
Date of Packaging means the date on which the food is placed in the immediate container in
which it will be ultimately sold.
Sell-by-Date means the last date of offer for sale to the consumer after which there remains a
reasonable storage period in the home.
Date of Minimum Durability (“best before”) means the date which signifies the end of the period
under any stated storage conditions during which the product will remain fully marketable and
will retain any specific qualities for which tacit or express claims have been made. However,
beyond the date the food may still be perfectly satisfactory.
Use-by Date (Recommended Last Consumption Date, Expiration Date) means the date which
signifies the end of the estimated period under any stated storage conditions, after which the
product probably will not have the quality attributes normally expected by the consumers. After
this date, the food should not be regarded as marketable.
Ingredient means any substance, including a food additive, used in the manufacture or
preparation of a food and present in the final product although possibly in a modified form.
Label means any tag, brand, mark, pictorial or other descriptive matter, written, printed,
stencilled, marked, embossed or impressed on, or attached to, a container of food.
Labelling includes any written, printed or graphic matter that is present on the label,
accompanies the food, or is displayed near the food, including that for the purpose of promoting
its sale or disposal.