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Food hygiene and safety

The risks of coronavirus remain high. To keep everyone safe, please stay cautious. Get the latest information about coronavirus.

Food hygiene rating scheme

The food hygiene rating scheme helps customers to make an informed choice about where to eat or shop by providing information about a business’s hygiene standards. 

Hygiene ratings range from '0' if urgent improvement is required through to '5' which shows very good hygiene standards. All food hygiene ratings are published online and businesses are given a window sticker showing their rating.

Learn more about food hygiene rules.

Food allergens

In the UK there are around 2 million people with a food allergy. Allergies to particular foods, or ingredients in food, can cause allergic reactions ranging from mild to severe symptoms.

Food businesses are legally obliged to provide clear and accurate information about allergenic ingredients in their products. This includes clear information in the list of ingredients on the label of pre-packed foods. For foods sold without packaging, such as restaurant, café and takeaway meals, allergen information must be available to the consumer on request.

For more information visit:

Anaphylaxis Campaign
Food Standards Agency
NHS choices

Food labelling

The information supplied with a food product, either on a label or menu, must be accurate and comply with the requirements of Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers and the Food Information Regulations 2014.

To learn more about food labelling, complete the Food Standards Agency’s food labelling e-learning course.

Allergen labelling

What is prepacked for direct sale (PPDS)?

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.

PPDS food can include the following:

  • sandwiches and bakery products which are packed on site before a consumer selects or orders them
  • fast food packed before it is ordered, such as a burger under a hot lamp where the food cannot be altered without opening the packaging
  • products which are prepacked on site ready for sale, such as pizzas, rotisserie chicken, salads and pasta pots
  • burgers and sausages prepacked by a butcher on the premises ready for sale to consumers
  • samples of cookies given to consumers for free which were packed on site
  • foods packaged and then sold elsewhere by the same operator at a market stall or mobile site
  • PPDS food provided in schools, care homes or hospitals and other similar settings will also require labelling

What information needs to be on each label of PPDS foods from 1 October 2021?

The label must show:

  • The name of the food
  • A full list of ingredients with the 14 major allergens emphasised within the list

These must be in line with the current legal requirements that apply to the naming of foods and listing of ingredients. For further information, please refer to the allergen guidance for food businesses

For more details, please visit the Foods Standards Agency website or read a simple guide to PPDS.

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