In the guide
Note: although the United Kingdom has left the European Union, certain pieces of legislation (formally known as 'retained EU law') will still apply until such time as they are replaced by new UK legislation; this means that you will still see references to EU regulations in our guidance.
This guidance is for England and Wales
Fruit and vegetables on sale at greengrocers should be marked with the true name of the food. Most fruit and vegetables have to be labelled with their class and may also need labelling with country of origin and variety.
Care should be taken with any other descriptions to ensure they are correct - 'organic', for example. There are other requirements in relation to pricing and weight marking of the products.
Required labelling should be on a notice with the food (shelf edge etc).
The true name of the food
Food products must have a name indicated that adequately describes them.Back to top
Food or ingredients that have been irradiated must be declared and labelled 'irradiated' or 'treated with ionising radiation'.Back to top
Marketing rules and grading requirements
Most fruit and vegetables are required by EU grading legislation to be labelled with their class and may also need labelling with country of origin and variety.
The Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate (HMI) is responsible for the enforcement of these requirements, and has confirmed that they will continue to apply for the forseeable future. More information on traders' legal obligations can be found on the GOV.UK website.Back to top
Country of origin or place of provenance
The country of origin or place of provenance should be marked if failure to do so would be misleading. (This place of provenance is a more local description than country of origin - for example, English strawberries or Tasmanian apples.)Back to top
Waxed fruit and other treatments
Fruit that has been waxed must be labelled as such. Any other treatment or process that a product has been subjected to must also be given - for example, beetroot that has been dipped in vinegar or cooked should be labelled accordingly.Back to top
Cut, peeled or similarly treated prepacked fruit and vegetables
These are required to bear a list of ingredients, unless the product is made up of a single ingredient. Some prepared salads, dried fruit and peeled potatoes are treated with preservative solution to keep them fresh; this, and anything else that has been added, must be declared as an ingredient.Back to top
If sulphur dioxide or sulphites have been used as a preservative, they must be highlighted in the ingredients list in order to comply with allergen-labelling requirements. For further information on allergen labelling see 'Food allergens and intolerance'.Back to top
Organic fruit and vegetables can only come from producers, importers or processors that have been inspected and approved by a body authorised by the Government. Food from any other source is not 'organic' and to describe it as such is an offence. See 'Labelling and describing organic food' for further information.Back to top
Weights and measures
For information regarding weighing and measuring requirements for products sold loose and/or prepacked, please see 'Weights and measures for greengrocers'.Back to top
Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment. For more information please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement and penalties'.Back to top
Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on food additives
Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers
Last reviewed / updated: March 2021
In this update
No major changes