With the UK’s submitted Withdrawal Agreement from the EU now passed through parliament, what effect will Brexit have on product labelling for those in the food industry?
We’re currently in a transition ‘implementation period’, where business operations will typically continue as usual, however it’s still an important time for food manufacturers to be preparing product labels and produce ready for market once the UK has officially left the EU by 2021.
When will I need to make Brexit product label changes?
According to Government and EU guidance, food products placed on the market before 1 January 2021 can continue to be sold, distributed or transferred in the EU without making any labelling changes.
Label changes for distributing your product in the EU
Following Brexit, product labelling (particularly for food that will continue to be distributed in the European Union) will need an EU Distribution address listed on the product, label or packaging.
Unlike before, UK food manufacturers won’t be able to use ‘Made in EU’ or EU flags without prior permission. New or updated labels will be required to list the United Kingdom as the country of origin, both for products sold in the UK and the EU.
You’ll also not be able to use the EU organics logo from 2021 unless the UK and EU agree to recognise each other’s standards – so this means if no standards deal is made with the EU, you won’t be able to export organic food from the UK to the EU.
Other important product labelling changes
For Products of Animal Origin which are sourced in the UK, these will no longer be able to use the ‘EC’ reference code within the Product of Animal Origin oval, instead they’ll require a ‘UK’ ‘GB’ or ‘United Kingdom’ reference code.
For more specific details, the Government’s website has the full list of requirements for labelling the source of origin for each food product.
The CE quality mark will also be phased out of use for products on the UK market, being replaced by the new UKCA mark.
How can I prepare for the changes?
Although the changes don’t come into play until January 2021, there are still ways you can be preparing today.
If you need to update existing labels or food packaging, cover-up opaque labels are a great option. They feature an additional layer in the material to stop print underneath showing through so you can cover outdated information or product origins.
You can also consider enlisting the help of a design company to help take the pressure off preparing products inline with new Government regulations. They can work with you to ensure all logos are clearly presented and product information included.
If you need help with Brexit product labelling changes or new packaging designs, just get in touch with our team at Eat Marketing, or why not explore how we worked with Nookie on their product packaging design.