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Labelling foods.

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Advice please....as always! What labels do people use on their packaged produce. In my case smoked salmon, but this must apply to many other home produced products. Must be resistant to freezing and not peel off. Also what info do you put on the label if you are “giving away” packages to “friends” for a small contribution. Ie. “If frozen and unopened (as in the case of a vacuum packed product). Or if opened and kept in fridge.....etc....etc. Don’t want to be responsible for any upset stomachs, food poisoning or worse!

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A big question with many facets

It is best to comply with the government regulations and then you will be fine. A good reference can be found here https://www.gov.uk/food-labelling-and-packaging. Yes, these are required when you are selling food however it is good practice even when you are giving it away too. For home produced items the most important items are:

  • The name of the food - e.g. "Hickory Smoked Salmon"
  • A "best before" or "use by" date * - or instructions on where to find it
  • Quantity information in grams or ml
  • List of ingredients with any allergens highlighted
  • Any special storage conditions
  • The name and address of the manufacturer/supplier

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I have recently updated some of my labels to include things like origin of the fish and cooking instructions.

It is also a good idea to assign batch numbers to each of your product runs and to record these on the label - just in case you have an issue with one particular batch. This is a requirement when selling commercially.

Although when giving away to family or friends you do not need to do this, it does make it look more professional.

Freezer proof labels are a bit of a problem when producing small quantities at home. You can buy sheets of labels that are "freezer proof" but these do often suffer from moisture damage to the paper when stored in the fridge or thawed after freezing. I have had to buy a transfer label printer and I have my label blanks pre-printed in true freezer proof materials but before I did I was using the standard sheets of "freezer proof" labels and was as careful as I could be to avoid them coming in contact with moisture.

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