Calls for New Laws on Braille Labelling – #JoinTheDots 

BackgroundBraille Labelling campaign logo featuring graphic of food products with Braille on the labels

Oban and District Access Panel, Disability Equality Scotland and Sight Scotland are calling on the Scottish Government to introduce new requirements on retailers to provide braille labelling on food products. Currently, braille labelling is only required for medicines, leaving braille users at a disadvantage to sighted shoppers in identifying food products they wish to purchase and use.

We’re calling for:

  • A statutory duty for businesses and retailers to provide braille labels on food products detailing the name of the item and use by/sell by dates

 Why is this important?

  • Ensuring information is available in braille is vital for the inclusion of visually impaired people
  • Braille labels would help blind and partially sighted people in identifying and organising items in the home e.g. when putting shopping away; selecting products for cooking; knowing that an item is safe to consume
Marie Harrower.


Marie Harrower, member of Oban and District Access Panel:

I feel passionate that blind and partially sighted people should be able to identify products, especially food products, in order to store away shopping, and retrieve products quickly, easily and with the minimum of effort. I wonder what people with sight would think if labels were removed and they had to seek assistance or do some guessing.”

What is the current situation?

Responsibility for labelling legislation has moved to the Scottish and UK Governments, having previously been a matter for EU law. Stuart McMillan, MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, lodged a Parliamentary Question on 24 May 2022 asking the Scottish Government what consideration it has given to introducing mandatory braille labelling on food products.

The response from the Minister for Public Health, Maree Todd MSP on 7 June 2022 stated:

  • The majority of food law which applies in Scotland stems from European Union legislation
  • Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has responsibility for the policies surrounding food labelling in Scotland
  • While there is no timescale at present, in due course, the food labelling legislation will be subject to review, which is likely to be a significant task and will need to be informed by EU developments on food information.
  • During the review process consideration will be given to which areas and policy approaches are appropriate for Scotland and in a GB context this will also include England and Wales.
  • Policy considerations are expected to include mandatory braille labelling and/or how the use of barcoded food information and new technology could help in this area.

We’re encouraged by this response and are seeking your support to ensure this issue is subject to a timescale and treated as a priority.

How can I show my support?

We have launched a Scottish Parliament petition urging the Scottish Government to create a statutory duty for businesses and retailers to provide braille labels on food products detailing the name of the item and use by/sell by dates.

Accessible Food Labelling Survey

As a campaign group, we are determined to highlight why a review of food labelling should be considered as a priority. Therefore, we have launched a short survey to gather views on the accessibility of labels.

We are also keen to hear directly from braille users. Please share your contact details if you wish to contribute to a case study to help further promote our braille labelling campaign.

Share your support!

For the latest campaign updates, follow: @BrailleLabels

Show your support by tweeting out the message below:

I’m pleased to support the @BrailleLabels campaign by Oban and District Access Pane @DEScotTweets and @SightScotland calling for mandatory braille labelling on food products. INSERT LINK TO PETITION.


Braille Resources

Braille is a tactile system in which raised dots represent the letters of the alphabet and numbers, which allow blind and partially sighted people to access literacy by reading and writing.

Browse the following Braille resources to find out more:

  • The Braillist Foundation – What braille is, who uses it, how you can start to learn it – and why it’s called braille
  • National Braille Association – An international organisation whose mission is to provide continuing education to those who prepare braille and to provide braille materials to persons who are visually impaired.
  • RNIB – Blog on why Braille remains an importance accessible format.
  • Scottish Braille Press – A leading provider of high quality alternative formats and offers a transcription service to create Braille.
  • Sight Scotland – A history of Braille,  including who invented it, how Braille symbols are formed and how Braille is written.
  • Word Braille Day – World Braille Day takes place on the 4 January every year to raise awareness about the importance of braille as a means of communication

Campaign Partners