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Butchers - Labelling

You must give your customer certain information about the food you sell. There are different requirements for:

Non-prepacked (loose) food

Pre-packed food

 Beef, poultry meat, sheep meat, goat meat, pig meat, fish, shellfish and crustaceans  

Business to business sales

Modified atmosphere packed (MAP) food

Meat tenderised with blades/needles

Food requiring cooking instructions

 

Non-prepacked Food

Non-prepacked food is:

  • food with no packaging (loose)
  • food you package and sell from the same premises e.g. dinner type meal prepacked in advance

Information for non-prepacked food

All non-prepacked food must display information about allergens.

There are 14 EU listed allergens that must be declared if used as an ingredient in the food.

Take a look at our allergen section to find out how to do this.

 

For additional information to be displayed, choose the type of food below:

Prepacked Food

Does not include food you package and sell from the same premises (see requirements for non-prepacked food).

In a butcher shop you will need to consider the requirements for prepacked foods if:

  • you prepare, pack and sell food to another food business to sell to the final consumer in its existing packaging, or
  • you have other premises that are part of your business and you are supplying those premises with the prepacked, labelled food to sell to customers
  • you pack and sell food to another food business to be further processed by that food business

General information that must appear on all prepacked food

  • name of the food
  • list of ingredients with allergens highlighted
  •  quantity of certain ingredients (usually given as % in list of ingredients)
  • net weight/volume of the food
  • best before or use by date
  • origin information (see below for origin requirements for beef and meat of poultry, sheep, pigs and goats)
  • any special storage conditions and/or conditions of use
  • business name and address
  • instructions for use where it would be difficult to make appropriate use of the food in the absence of such instructions
  • nutrition declaration (you may not have to give this - read more on exemptions)


You can find more detailed information on these requirements in the labelling section of our website

Beef, poultry meat, sheep meat, goat meat, pig meat, fish, shellfish and crustaceans

Beef labelling Information 

Traceability information regarding the origin of beef and beef products must be recorded and retained. The information must also be either put on a label or displayed for customers.

Records of beef traceability information must be kept by butchers for 2 years and must be presented for inspection when requested.

This applies to fresh, frozen and minced beef only. The following is the information to be displayed or put on a label:

 Fresh and frozen beef

  • Reference/traceability code or batch number
  • Approval number of the slaughterhouse and the Member State or other country of the slaughterhouse e.g. ‘Slaughtered in Ireland 123’
  • Approval number of the cutting hall and the Member State or other country e.g. ‘ Cut in Ireland 456’
  • Origin of the beef – where the animal is born, reared and slaughtered. This may be different Member States/other countries e.g. Born in France, reared and slaughtered in Ireland’ or where it all happens in the same place e.g. Ireland, you can simply put ‘Origin: Ireland’

Minced beef

  • Reference/traceability code
  • The words 'Prepared in (name of Member State/third country where the mincing took place)'
  • The words 'Slaughtered in (name of Member State/third country where animal was born and reared if different from place of preparation)'
  • The word 'Origin' followed by Member State/third country when the animal is born, reared and slaughtered in the same country where this is not the same as the place of preparation
  • If the beef is derived from animals from different countries - country of birth, country(or countries) of fattening/rearing and country of slaughter  

 For further information have a look at our Guidance Note on the labelling of meat   

Poultry meat labelling information 

This applies to fresh and frozen poultry meat. The following information to be displayed or put on a label:

Prepacked food 

  • Use by date followed by storage conditions that must be observed
  • Class (Class A or B)
  • Total price and price per weight unit
  • Indication of whether it is fresh, frozen or quick-frozen (note: you cannot call previously frozen and defrosted chicken ‘fresh’) plus recommended storage temperature
  • Registered number of slaughterhouse or cutting plant (except where cutting and boning is taking place at point of sale)

Non-prepacked (loose) food

  • Class (Class A or B)
  • Price per weight unit
  • Indication of whether it is fresh, frozen or quick-frozen
  • Registered number of the slaughterhouse or cutting plant
  • Country of origin, where poultry meat is imported from outside the EU
  • Use by date followed by indication of storage conditions that must be observed

For further information have a look at our Guidance note on the labelling of meat

Origin information for prepacked meat of pigs, sheep, goats and poultry

Applies to prepacked non-processed meat of pigs, sheep, goats and poultry supplied to the final consumer or mass caterer (restaurant, hotels, hospitals etc).

It does not cover ‘cured meats’ (bacon/rashers/sausages/salami/deli ham) or meat products that have been further processed (for example, chicken kievs/ stuffed pork fillet, or products that contain meat as an ingredient (e.g.lasagne).

The rules also apply to all poultry which includes chicken, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowl.

Information to appear on pack

  • 'Reared in..' Member State/Third Country where animal was reared e.g. 'Reared in Ireland' (see pg 18 of our guidance note for more details on this point)
  • 'Slaughtered in..' Member State/Third country where animal was slaughtered e.g. 'Slaughtered in Ireland
  • Batch code identifying the meat supplied to the consumer or mass caterer
  • 'Origin ...' - when an animal was born, reared and slaughtered in one Member State/Third Country you can state 'origin..' instead of separate statements on rearing and slaughtering e.g. 'Origin Ireland'. If you do use 'Origin...' you must be able to prove this to the satisfaction of the inspector

Mixed pack

If you have a pack with meat from different countries/species you must indicate on the label:

  • the list of relevant Member States/Third Countries where rearing and slaughtering took place, for each species
  • the batch code identifying the meat supplied to the consumer or mass caterer

Minced meat

The following options are available for labelling origin of minced meat:

  • 'Origin EU' - minced meat exclusively from animals born, reared and slaughtered in different Member States
  • 'Reared and slaughtered in: EU' - minced meat from animals reared and slaughtered in different Member States
  • 'Reared and slaughtered in: non-EU' minced meat from meat imported into EU
  • 'Reared in:non-EU' and 'Slaughtered in: EU' - minced meat from animals imported in EU then slaughtered in one or more different Member States
  • 'Reared and slaughtered in: EU and non-EU' where minced meat from animals reared and slaughtered in one or different Member States and from meat imported into EU; or minced meat from animals imported into EU and slaughtered in one or different Member States.

Fish, shellfish, crab an lobster etc. 

Certain information must be displayed or put on the label of these types of food.

The EU pocket handbook on the labelling of fish and aquaculture products provides clear information on these requirements.

 

Business to business sales

When selling to another food business, all of the mandatory labelling information must appear on the packaging or on the commercial documents that refer to the food, as long as these documents accompany the food or were sent before or at the same time as delivery.

If you choose to put the information on commercial documents, the following information must appear on the outer packaging:

  • the name of the food
  • the use-by or best before date
  • any special storage conditions and/or conditions for use
  • name and address of the food business operator 

Modified atmosphere packed (MAP) food

Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is a way of extending the shelf life of fresh food products. Normal air inside a package is replaced with a protective gas mix that helps the food to last longer.

If you use MAP you must label the food with the words 'packaged in a protective atmosphere'.

Meat tenderised with blades/needles

When a piece of meat is tenderised with blades or needles you should advise your customer that the meat must be thoroughly cooked or put this advise on the label if the product is packaged.

Pieces of meat that have had this type of treatment are not suitable for serving undercooked. This is because the blades or needles can transfer bacteria that is normally only on the surface of the meat into the centre of the meat. If the meat is not thoroughly cooked, any bacteria in the centre of the meat will not be killed and may cause food poisoning.

Food requiring cooking instructions

You must label minced meat, meat preparations and meat products, from all animal species other than poultry, intended to be eaten cooked, with cooking instructions.


                 
 

Last reviewed: 30/9/2019

Approved Food Establishments 

Approved

Food Labelling

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