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Food standards

The advice sheets below have the latest information on food standards. If you need more advice call 01753 475111 (Regulatory Services option).

Sandwich labelling


In the guide

Sandwiches must be labelled with certain food information, which will differ depending on how they are sold.

This guidance is for England & Wales

There are different labelling requirements depending on whether sandwiches are sold by mass caterers and/or sold prepacked or non-prepacked. Prepacked labelling requirements are significantly more complex. 

The term 'sandwich' includes a roll, bap, baguette, pitta, wrap, panini, bagel and similar products.

Mass caterers

These are premises at which the sandwiches are prepared for consumption at the time of purchase; they include pubs, restaurants, cafés, stalls, school canteens, vans and sandwich bars.

The following information is required:

  • the presence of any allergenic ingredients 
  • the presence of any irradiated or genetically modified ingredients 

The information does not have to be labelled on the product and can instead be placed on a notice. The notice should be visible / available at the point(s) where the consumer can place an order (at the counter, in the menu if food can be ordered at the table, etc).

Allergen information can be given verbally, in which case a notice must be placed on display inviting customers to ask a member of staff for allergen information.  

Full information on the provision of allergen information can be found in 'Food allergens & intolerance'.  

You are not required to name the product but any name or description given must be accurate; areas that can cause problems are:

  • butter / margarine
  • ham / pork shoulder
  • reformed or chopped and shaped meats
  • seafood / crab 'sticks'
  • cheese substitutes

If prepacked sandwiches are being sold from a mass caterer the requirements for prepacked products (below) will apply.  

Van sales

The rules for mass caterers also apply to van sales, although if you purchase prepacked sandwiches to sell from your van the normal prepacked rules will apply (see below).  

Non-prepacked sandwiches

Non-prepacked includes the following:

  • loose. Food sold or displayed without any form of packaging
  • packaged at the request of the consumer. Food sold or displayed without any form of packaging but placed into packaging after purchase (for example, a sandwich placed into a paper bag)
  • prepacked for direct sale. Food sold in packaging from the premises on which it was packaged

Non-prepacked food has the same labelling requirements regardless of whether it is being sold from a mass caterer, shop, stall, etc as follows:

  • the name of the product
  • a declaration that the sandwich or ingredients have been irradiated and/or contain genetically modified material (where relevant)
  • an indication of any of the 14 specified allergens that the sandwich contains, or a notice stating that this information is available on request

The information can be on a label attached to the product or on a notice.  

Further information can be found in 'Labelling of non-prepacked foods'.

If you purchase sandwiches from another food business that are supplied without packaging they will be non-prepacked and you should follow the rules above.  

If you purchase sandwiches from another food business that are supplied in packaging these will be classed as prepacked. Please refer to the labelling requirements below.  

Prepacked sandwiches

'Prepacked food' is defined in EU Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers as "... food and the packaging into which it was put before being offered for sale, whether such packaging encloses the food completely or only partially, but in any event in such a way that the contents cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging …".

If you package sandwiches for sale to consumers from another premises you operate, or to supply another food business that will sell them to consumers, then the sandwiches are prepacked.  

Prepacked sandwiches require the following labelling:

  • the name of the food
  • an ingredient list
  • information relating to allergenic ingredients
  • quantitative ingredient declarations (QUID)
  • a nutritional declaration
  • durability date marking
  • the name and address of the manufacturer
  • storage instructions (where required)
  • instructions for use (where required)
  • origin marking (if the label would be misleading without it)

Manufacturers of small quantities supplying only local retailers may be exempt from needing to label their products with a nutrition declaration; further detail can be found in 'Labelling of prepacked foods: nutrition declaration'.

If the product contains any of the 14 allergens below they must be highlighted in the ingredients list:

  • cereals containing gluten, such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut, and their hybridised strains
  • peanuts (also called groundnuts)
  • nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamias and Queensland nuts
  • fish
  • crustaceans
  • molluscs
  • sesame seeds
  • eggs
  • milk and milk products (including lactose)
  • soy beans
  • celery
  • lupin
  • mustard
  • sulphur dioxide and sulphites at levels above 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/litre expressed as SO2

Further information can be found in 'Food allergens & intolerance'.

If applicable the product will also need to be labelled with:

  • an irradiation declaration
  • a genetically-modified-material declaration
  • a packaged-in-a-protective-atmosphere declaration
  • specific declarations if sweeteners, sugars and sweeteners, aspartame, or polyols are present

A full explanation of how to label your products can be found in 'Labelling of prepacked foods: general' and the other guides on prepacked foods that it links to. Please note, however, that sandwiches are exempt from the requirement to provide a net quantity indication.  


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 & penalties'.

Key legislation

Last reviewed / updated: July 2019

Please note

This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.

The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.