As a food and beverage Producer, you're probably aware of the latest legislative changes which were originally due to come into force on 1st October 2022 but are now being delayed until the end of 2023.
The government ultimately decided to delay the measures because of the current tumultuous geopolitical and economic climate. This is a welcome grace period for SMEs as it would be inappropriate to hammer producers and consumers with additional administrative and markup costs during a cost-of-living crisis. Nevertheless, we do advise that producers prepare early to avoid stress later. We have prepared a summary for all your need to know about Brexit product labeling as an F&B producer.
1) FBO Address
A Food Business Operator (FBO) name and address must be included on the packaging or food label of pre-packaged food. Before Brexit, producers based within the EU single market and customs union could simply record their own addresses.
European FBOs trading with UK buyers can continue to have an address that’s EU-based on record until 31st December 2023.
However, From 1st January 2024, pre-packaged food sold in Great Britain MUST include a GB FBO address. EU-based producers are advised to amend their address to one located in Great Britain, such as a warehouse where the food will be first imported to.
2) EU Identification Marks
'UK/EC' identification marks are required on products of animal origin (POAO) placed on the GB market. This system will now also remain in place until 31st December 2023.
From 1st January 2024, health and identification marks will be required to be replaced from 'EC' to 'GB' or 'UK' for POAO produced in Great Britain.
On 1 January 2023 all goods that already currently carry the CE marking (which denotes that goods conform with European health, safety, and environmental protection standards) will also need to fully transition to the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking on their product labelling, so it is vital that producers don’t get caught out by the earlier deadline for this.
3) Country of Origin
There are proposed changes coming down the track regarding how producers label where their brands have been sourced from, due to Brexit. Previously, EU rules stated that producers distinguish between products originating either from within the internal EU market or alternatively from a third country.
This is changing as a result of Brexit. UK rules are set to retain much of the same principle – only that the internal market in question is the UK’s. You can continue to refer to 'EU' or 'non-EU' when the label does not list each country of origin, until 31st December 2023.
From 1st January 2024, all F&B products that are sold in the UK MUST use 'UK' or 'non-UK' when the label does not list each country of origin. A suggestion to prevent any unnecessary headaches might be to state the countries that products originate from by name.
So, an olive oil producer might start labelling their brand as 'of Greek origin' or 'Non-UK origin' rather than the 'EU origin' label that was previously allowed before Brexit. At the same time, if good originates from multiple countries, then it could be good practice to list them all by name.
For more details, read this guidance from DEFRA here