Legislation, standards and patents for food and nutrition


Legal information and legislation is increasingly accessible online. For UK legislation the two key databases are:

For legislation from other countries try:

For more detailed information on finding legislation consult the Law guides.

Most printed information concerned with food law, legislation and food standards can be found in the social science section of the 4th Floor. The following sources are available:

UK Statutory Instruments
Also available online from 1987 onwards

Food Safety Act 1990


A standard is an officially approved specification covers requirements for the properties, dimensions, performance, qualities and testing of products and services. Standards are particularly useful for methods of analysis.

British Standards Online - covers current, historic, and draft British Standards and BSI adopted European and international standards


A patent is a legal right which, when granted, gives the patentee (the applicant for the patent) a monopoly to make, use or sell the invention within a jurisdiction (or jurisdictions) for a fixed period of time. The patent is granted in return for full disclosure of the details of the invention.

The Library does not hold any patents, although the FSTA (Food Science and Technology Abstracts)  database includes references to food-related patents.

The key sources for patent information are the British Library Patent and Intellectual Property Collections. In addition to the collection of British patents they hold the most comprehensive range of patent specifications and related material in the world. Since 1855 patents and related material from numerous countries have been collected and now include 47 million patent specifications from over 40 authorities. Numerous gazettes and much support literature, as well as an increasing number of electronic databases, facilitate greater access to the collection through subject, name and classification searches.

For more information go to British Library Patents webpages.

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