Delay to post Brexit food labelling requirements for EU imports
17 November 2022
The UK government has delayed the enforcement of new labelling requirements on EU food imports. The new food labelling requirements were due to apply from 1 October 2022 but will now come into force on 1 January 2024.
The delay came about as a result of concerns about costs to businesses and consumers in complying with the new labelling requirements.
The impending labelling requirements will see EU producers having to create separate labels for food products entering the UK’s food market. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) challenged the implementation expressing concern that these requirements would cause “additional administrative costs” which would then be passed to UK consumers who are already facing financial pressures due to the rise in global energy costs.
The outcome of Defra’s challenge
With the implementation of the new labelling requirements pushed back until 1 January 2024, EU food producers have been granted an extra 15 months to prepare to comply with the upcoming requirements.
Consequently, food businesses have until 31 December 2023 to adopt the new labelling requirements.
Requirements to be introduced from January 2024
The new labelling requirements will affect a wide range of food products travelling from the European Union into the UK’s food market including, meat, eggs, oils and honey.
Country of origin requirements
From 1 January 2024, foods from the UK can no longer be labelled as being of ‘EU origin’. Instead, foods from the UK will need to be labelled as ‘UK origin’. Conversely, foods imported from the EU into the UK food market will need to be labelled as being of ‘Non-UK origin’ when the label does not list each country of origin.
Food business operator address
Pre-packed foods or caseins sold in the UK food market must include a UK address for the Food Business Operator (FBO), who is responsible for the food product information, on the packaging of the food product under the new labelling requirements. If the FBO is not based in the UK, producers will have to include the address of the UK based importer. Please see our article for more information in this respect.
If you are a food supplier, now is a good time to check who is responsible for packaging and labelling of your food products in your supply contracts.
If necessary, the delay provides an appropriate time to negotiate a renewal or variation to your supply contracts to address these requirements
Whilst some of the key considerations for food suppliers ahead of the implementation of the UK food labelling requirements are considered in this article, this is not intended to be an exhaustive and fully informative guide.
Separately, for more information on extended producer responsibilities please see our article for more information.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at November 2022.