Fast food and takeaway businesses could be affected by the changes in the legislation depending on their businesses models and how they operate (for instance, some businesses may produce some foods in advance and package them at busier times).

It effectively comes down to the moment when a customer orders and when food is packaged. Where the food is packaged before the customer has ordered it is considered ‘pre-packed food for direct sale’ (PPDS). If it is packaged after it is ordered, it is considered to be ‘non-prepacked food’, even if the food is then provided in packaging.

The reason for the distinction is that if the food is in packaging before it is ordered, then the customer can’t change it and it requires a label. If the food is packaged after it is ordered then, in theory, the consumer could request that items are removed which would change the contents. Therefore, this is considered to be ‘non-prepacked’ and a label is not required.

Some businesses will produce PPDS and non-prepacked food side by side and in exactly the same way. However, a burger that has been prepared and packaged ready for a customer to order is effectively the same as a sandwich that has been made earlier that day ready for a customer to select it. Both are prepacked foods that can’t be changed and will require a label.