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UK-EU Customs: Brexit food labelling rule change postponed for UK imports

Rule changes to the labelling of UK-bound EU food products have been delayed until 2024 to protect consumers amidst current supply chain challenges

The decision has been made by the UK government to postpone the implementation of new food labelling regulations from 1st October 2022 to 1st January 2024. The new Brexit labelling rules were set to affect goods travelling into the UK from the European Union, including beef, minced meat, olive oil, some fruits and vegetables and wine. This means that some labelling terms and EU addresses, in relation to importers and food business operators, will continue to be permitted on the GB market for an additional 15 months.

The postponement in effect means the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will allow the "UK/EC" identification mark to remain valid on products of animal origin brought into the UK market until 31st December 2023.

An official statement from DEFRA stated that the decision to push back the implementation date was "in line with protecting consumers from unnecessary costs" whilst also protecting suppliers and importers who would otherwise have to cover additional costs for the separate labels needed on products destined for Great Britain.

It is likely that further information on these controls will be published in the coming weeks - we will update this page with all relevant guidance.

 

Please see below advice for businesses placing goods on the GB market as per DEFRA's guidelines:

 

The existing rules stipulate that you must include a business name and address on the packaging or food label of prepacked food products. This must be either:

  • the name of the business under whose name the food is marketed

  • the address of the business that has imported the food

For Food Business Operator addresses (FBO):

  • You can continue to use either an EU, GB or NI address for the FBO on pre-packaged food or caseins placed on the market in GB until 31 December 2023.
  • From 1 January 2024, prepacked food or caseins sold in GB including caseins sold in business-to-business transactions must include a UK address for the FBO. If the FBO is not in the UK, include the address of your importer, based in the UK.

For Quick-frozen foodstuffs placed on the GB market:

  • You can continue to use an EU address until 31 December 2023.

  • From 1 January 2024, the packaging, container, or label of quick-frozen foodstuffs sold in GB must include the name or business name and address of the manufacturer or packer or of a seller established in the UK who places that foodstuff on the market.

For extraction solvents placed on the GB market:

  • You can continue to use an EU address until 31 December 2023.
  • From 1 January 2024, the packaging, container, or label of extraction solvents sold in GB must include the name or business name and address of the manufacturer or packer or of a seller established in the UK.

For caseins and caseinates placed on the GB market:

  • You can continue to use an EU address until 31 December 2023.

  • From 1 January 2024, the packaging, container, or label of caseins and caseinates sold in GB must include the name or business name and address of the manufacturer or packer or of a seller established in the UK.

For beef and veal placed on the GB market:

  • You can (where appropriate) continue to refer to ‘EU’ or ‘non-EU’ when the label does not list each country of origin until 31 December 2023.
  • From 1 January 2024, you must use ’UK’ or ‘non-UK’ when the label does not list each country of origin.

For minced meat placed on the GB market:

  • You can continue to refer to ‘EU’ and ‘non-EU’ when the label does not list each country of origin until 31 December 2023.
  • From 1 January 2024, you must use ‘UK’ or ‘non-UK’ when the label does not list each country of origin.

For honey blends placed on the market in England and Wales:

  • You can continue to refer to ‘EU’ and ‘non-EU’ when the label does not list each country of origin until 31 December 2023.
  • From 1 January 2024, you must use ‘blend of honeys from more than one country’ (or similar wording) if you decide not to list each country of origin.

For honey blends sold in Scotland you can make reference to trading blocs including EU and non-EU and can continue to do so after 31st December 2023.

For olive oil blends placed on the GB market:

  • You can continue to refer to ‘EU’ and ‘non-EU’ when the label does not list each country of origin until 31 December 2023.
  • From 1 January 2024, you cannot use the term ‘non-EU’ for olive oil blends sold in GB.

If your extra virgin or virgin olive oil is a blend of oils from different countries, the label must contain one of the following:

  • a list of each country of origin

  • the statement ‘blend of olive oils from more than one country’ or similar wording

  • the name of the trading bloc to which a regional trade agreement applies, for example ‘blend of olive oils of European Union origin’.

For mixes of fruit and vegetables sold in GB:

  • You can continue to refer to ‘EU’ and ‘non-EU’ when the label does not list each country of origin until 31 December 2023.
  • From 1 January 2024, you must use ‘non-UK’ or ‘UK and non-UK’ when the label does not list each country of origin.

If you’re part of the Approved Trader Scheme, you must remove the EU emblem from your UK food labels and use the replacement GB label from 1 January 2021.

For eggs sold in GB:

  • In GB you can continue to mark eggs that do not meet domestic egg trade regulations as ‘non-EC standard’ or ‘non-UK standard’ until 31 December 2023.
  • From 1 January 2024, you should mark these eggs as ‘non-UK standard’.

Wine that you import and market in GB must be labelled with the address of a UK based importer or bottler, or both.

  • You can continue to use an EU importer or bottler’s details until 31 December 2023.

To further help UK Food businesses, the use of “UK/EC” identification marks (required on products of animal origin) will continue until 31 December 2023. This is for Products Of Animal Origin (POAO) placed on the market in Great Britain. It is not applicable to POAO produced in the UK for placing on the EU, Northern Ireland or non-EU markets.

This would allow FBOs to continue to deplete existing stocks of labels, wrapping and packaging carrying the ‘UK/EC’ identification mark owned by the food business operator at the end of the Transition Period. The provision started from 1 January 2021 and is only available for food businesses up to 31 December 2023.
This delay is not intended to enable businesses to replenish stocks of labels, wrapping and packaging carrying the ‘UK/EC’ identification mark after the end of the Transition Period. Businesses have been encouraged to adopt the new markings as soon as possible following the end of the Transition Period.

FSA and FSS guidance relating to identification marks will be updated to reflect this extension.

Enquire about our Customs Consultancy services or request a Free Customs Health Check here:

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