Food labels must include: ingredients, manufacturers details a total volume or weight, a date mark, storage instructions, potential allergens in the product. The nutritional information table provides average amounts of each macronutrient expected to be found in the product. Although these tables do provide information, it is not guaranteed accurate and can be misleading. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) set up in 2000 is responsible for governing the control and sale of food in the UK. The Foods Advisory Committee reported that up to 75% of consumers found terms like 'fresh', 'pure', 'natural' to be misleading. List of terms and how the food regulations state they should be used:
Fresh : to differentiate food sold a short time after harvest.
Pure : single ingredient foods or to highlight the quality of ingredients of a food.
Natural : comprised of natural ingredients, not the work of man.
Authentic : remains unchanged, originates from the area implied by its name.
Home made : made in the home, or of domestic manufacture.
Traditional : a method of preparation that has existed for a significant period.
Farmhouse : other than bread, it should refer to that produced on a farm.
Original : a method of preparation that has remained essentially unchanged over time.
Light, low, reduced or high : there are no specific guidelines for these terms, but they should not mislead.
Reduced or low fat : must be at least 25% lower in fat, but often calories are maintained by adding other ingredients.
Low calories : must have lower calories than the original but no set level, can be 1 calories less!
Sugar free : sugar has not been added, but almost always an artificial sweetener has been used for taste.