The lead-up to Christmas is a stressful time for many people, as the high street rush means there is very little time to pay attention to anything but buying the best gifts for friends and families.
However, UK consumers have been issued with a warning from local authorities, which have claimed this time of year can make it all too easy to ignore food labels containing important information about certain products.
Slough Borough Council has urged members of the public to pay close attention to markings on items they are serving up this festive period, in order to ensure they are properly prepared.
Trading Standards officials said chefs should watch out for allergenic ingredients, which should be declared in the ingredients list or in a separate allergen box on the label. It is also advisable for individuals to ask their Christmas guests are allergic to anything.
Families have also been advised to check the dates on items they purchase. 'Use by' labels apply to perishable goods and must be used by the date that is stated on the packaging. Some items can be consumed after the 'best before' date, but it may be of a lesser quality.
Trading standards official Angela Satterly said food labels are included on packaging for the protection of the public - and consumers should ensure they pay attention to them, especially when preparing a meal for friends and family.
She added: "Food manufacturers have a legal responsibility to label products correctly, with no misleading information about health or nutritional benefits. If anyone has any doubts or problems with any product or its labelling, we ask them to report it to us as soon as possible."
Including misleading information on packages could have legal implications for companies, which could tarnish their reputation and put their future operations under threat.