David Edwards and Charles Mather from Harrison Drury’s regulatory team outline the latest update regarding food labelling for companies in the UK.
The UK Government has extended the new post-Brexit food labelling requirements deadline. The changes, which affect particular types of labels and markings on specific foodstuffs being placed on the UK market, were due to apply on October 1, 2022. The new regulations extended the deadline in England and Wales until January 1, 2024.
As a part of the transitional arrangements regarding the UK’s exit from the European Union, food labelling address requirements, requiring that labels feature the address of a UK Food Business Operator (FBO) on food imported from the EU, have been delayed by 15 months. The new deadline also extends to new food origin information labelling (‘UK’ or ‘Non-UK’ is to replace ‘EU’ or ‘Non-EU’) and products of animal origin.
Time to adapt to new labelling regime
While significant challenges in the food supply chain persist, the deadline extension will give food businesses further time to adapt to the new labelling regime and allow businesses to continue to deplete existing stores of labels, packaging and wrapping before implementation of the new rules.
The extension also aims to protect consumers from unnecessary costs associated with food businesses meeting the new requirements.
The deadline extension means that businesses can continue to use an EU, a UK or a North Ireland address for the FBO on pre-packaged food in England and Wales, and products of animal origin placed on the market in England and Wales can continue to use the ‘UK/EC’ identification mark, until December 31, 2023.
Labelling requirements for some beef, veal, meat, minced meat and blended honey products are also affected by the extension. Also affected are labelling requirements for wine, eggs, fruit and vegetables, olive oil, solvents, and frozen foods.
Food business must keep in line with proposed changes
UK Government guidance makes it clear that the deadline extension is not intended to enable food businesses to replenish stocks of labels, wrapping and packaging consistent with the current labelling regime. Instead, food businesses should adopt the new labelling and marking requirements as soon as they are able, and in any event before the new deadline of January 1, 2024.
If you are a UK food business, it is important that you prepare for the new labelling requirements. If you require further information or advice on your packaging and labelling requirements, please contact Harrison Drury’s regulatory team on 01772 258321.