Brexit: discussions still ongoing on a possible partnership

As a reminder, the Brexit (departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union) took place on 31 January 2020. Concretely, the UK is no longer an EU Member state. However the withdrawal agreement includes a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which the UK continues to apply European Union law. Unfortunately negotiations on the future partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom are still not finalized.

It is still necessary to continue to prepare for the changes by 31 December 2020.

According to a notice on the changes concerning food law published by the European Commission in March 2020: an existing and individually identifiable good lawfully placed on the market in the EU or the United Kingdom before the end of the transition period may be further made available on the market of the EU or of the United Kingdom and circulate between these two markets until it reaches its end-user.

UK updated guidance on food labelling

On 12 October 2020, the UK authorities updated their guidance on food labelling changes from 1 January 2021, especially an additional transition period is now accepted for products marketed in Great Britain for the address indicated on the label:

Food of non-animal origin placed on either the UK or EU markets before 1 January 2021 can continue to circulate both in the EU and UK markets without labelling changes.

  • Foods sold in European Union (EU):

All food placed on the EU market from 1 January 2021 will have to meet EU rules.

Pre-packaged food must have an address for the Food Business Operator (FBO) or importer in European Union or in Northern Ireland on the food label.

  • Foods sold in Great Britain (GB) :

It is now indicated that it is possible to use an EU, GB or NI address for the FBO on pre-packaged food sold in GB until 30 September 2022. From 1 October 2022, pre-packaged food sold in GB must include a UK address for the FBO (or importer).

  • Foods sold in Northern Ireland (NI):

Goods sold in NI will continue to follow EU rules for food labelling. Pre-packaged food sold in NI must include a NI or EU FBO (or importer) address from 1 January 2021.

For information, this guidance covers also other points such as organic logo, health and identification mark, Country of origin, Geographical Indication (GI) logos, and specificities for some food categories.