UK food label changes due to Brexit
The Brexit transition period ends on 31st December 2020, meaning food manufacturers and packers need to make changes to their food labels to comply with the law.
Timescales for changes
There are different timescales to make the food label changes, dependent on where the product will be sold. Foods exported and sold in the EU must meet all the requirements by 1st January 2021, but foods sold in GB have until 30th September 2022 to comply.
Any foods entering the EU or NI (Northern Ireland) market after 1st Jan 2021 will be illegal if not labelled correctly therefore food exports are at risk of being rejected at the border.
Food label changes
The changes relate to:
- Food business operator address
- Use of identification and health marks
- Country of origin
- Use of the EU organic logo
- Use of the geographical indication logo
- Use of the EU emblem
Food business operator address
Foods placed on the EU market must have an EU or NI address for the importer on the label. The address has to be a postal address; an email address or phone number is not acceptable.
Use of identification and health marks
Products of animal origin (POAO) e.g. meat, fish, milk and eggs, currently need an identification or health mark for traceability and to show that they have been processed in approved premises. These marks have changed.
The FSA (Food Standards Agency) and local authorities issue the health and identity marks and should have contacted approved individual premises to advise them of the changes. This is a useful guide to the changes.
Country of origin
Food produced in the UK can no longer be labelled as origin EU, with the exception of Northern Ireland. Where the product is made in NI, it must also state ‘UK(NI)’ or ‘United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)’ because of the Northern Ireland protocol.
Use of the EU organic logo
The EU has recently recognised UK organic control bodies and agreed that the EU organic logo on GB organic food or feed can continue to be used until 31 December 2021. Although the EU organic logo will be optional, if used it must meet the EU organic labelling requirements and statement of agricultural origin.
Foods exported to the EU and using the EU organic logo, will need to include both the GB statement of agriculture (‘UK or non-UK Agriculture’) and the EU statement of agriculture (‘EU or non-EU Agriculture’). Read more about this.
Use of the geographical indication logo
There are 88 UK registered products with protected food names, under the EU GI scheme. The UK is setting up its own GI scheme with a new logo which will be used in future. Any foods currently registered under the EU scheme have until 1st Jan 2024 to change from the EU GI logo to the new UK GI logo.
Foods sold in NI, must use the EU GI logo; it is optional to also display the UK GI logo.
Use of the EU emblem