Bread and Labelling

Lettering

The size of lettering on labels is now less restricted. Lettering must be legible, that is, clear enough to read, and in English. Specific sized lettering is only required for allergy warnings.

Bread Type

The name of the bread must correctly describe the bread. In the code the following terms are defined:

Bread means the product made by baking a yeast - leavened dough prepared from one or more cereal flours or meals and water.

Wholegrain means the intact grain or the dehulled, ground, milled, cracked or flaked grain where the constituents - endosperm, germ, bran - are present in such proportions that represent the typical ratio of those fractions occurring in the whole cereal, and includes wholemeal.

Wholemeal means the product containing all the milled constituents of the grain in such proportions that it represents the typical ratio of those fractions occurring in the whole cereal.

The Food Standards Code, sets out rules about 'characterising ingredients', that is, ingredients which make the bread different from other bread. These rules require the label to list the percentage of all characterising ingredients in the food. For example, Wholemeal bread labels have to list the percentage of wholemeal flour in the whole loaf or for a fruit loaf, where the percentage of fruit in the loaf must be listed on the label, or a milk loaf, where the percentage of non-fat milk powder must be listed. All percentages listed on the label are the percentage of the total product, that is, the whole loaf of bread. The percentage of any characterising ingredients can be listed in the ingredients list. For example, Wheat Flour, Wholemeal Flour (24%), Water, etc.

Ingredients have to be listed in order of quantity added from the largest to the smallest ingredient, based on their weight when they are added. (Losses of water during baking are subtracted from the amount of water first added to decide where water will be listed in the ingredients list). All ingredients must be listed, including all additives that act on the finished product in any way.

If composite ingredients (ingredients made up of other ingredients) make up over 5% of the finished product, they must have all their ingredients listed. For example, Butter is made of cream, water and salt so all of these must be listed if there is more than 5% butter in the bread loaf.

Composite ingredients that make up less than 5% of the finished product have to list all ingredients which perform a technological function in the finished product.

Bakery Address

The label should display the name and street address of the bakery, or someone who sells the bread, or someone who distributes the bread.

Nutritional Information Panel

The packaging must have a Nutritional Information Panel (NIP). Information per 100 grams and per serving size is required for: Energy in kJ, Protein in grams, Total Carbohydrate in grams, Sugars in grams, Total Fat in grams, Saturated Fat in grams and Sodium in milligrams.

There is no need for other nutritional information to be listed, unless a claim is made about it on the packaging, such as "High fibre content". The number of servings in the package must also be included on the NIP.

Date

Packaged bread must be date marked according to the following rules:

  • Best-before date: means that a properly sealed package of food, which has been stored correctly, should be of high quality until the marked date. It must also keep any specific qualities claimed for it until that date. The best-before date must be uncoded, and must be shown as numbers, except for the month, which can be written in letters. The day, month and year must be readable.
  • Baked-for date: means a date not later than 12 hours after the time the bread was baked.The 'baked-for' date cannot be later than 12 hours after the time the bread was baked. So bread that is baked after 12:00 pm (midday) can include a 'baked-for' date that is the following day. But bread baked before 12:00 pm (midday) cannot. A baked-for date must use either the words – 'Baked For' or 'Bkd For', with the date next to it, or it must say where the date is located on the label. The 'baked-for date' tells us the date the bread is being baked for. Sometimes bread is baked for sale the day after.
  • Baked-on date: means the date on which the bread was baked. The label on a package of bread with a shelf life of less than 7 days may include, instead of a best-before date, its baked-on date or its baked-for date. A baked-on date must use either the words 'Baked On' or 'Bkd On', with the date next to it, or it must say where the date is located on the label. If a product has a best-before date of less than 3 months, then the best-before date must show at least the day and the month; if the product has a best-before date of more than 3 months, then the best-before date must show at least the month and the year.

Storage Directions

Storage directions must show how to maintain the product for the product shelf life.

Allergy Warnings

There are special requirements for labelling allergens, which are ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction in a consumer. Examples of allergens are wheat, soy, gluten, sesame, nuts and bee products. The allergens must be included in the ingredient list, in 3mm size type, usually bold. For a product manufactured in a factory where allergen containing foods are also manufactured a comment such as the following should be included on the packaging - "this product may contain x or this product has been manufactured in a factory where x is manufactured.

Ingredient Limitations

There is a comprehensive list of food additive restrictions and maximum allowed levels set in the new food standards. Bread producers have to be aware of these when baking bread for sale.