Labelling Foods for the UK market
As the UK is no longer in the EU they may now set their own food law requirements for foods imported into, manufactured in and/or placed on the market in Great Britain. Food labelling is one area where the UK has different requirements to the EU which means you need to be aware of the labelling requirements to place food products on the UK market.
Questions about labelling foods for the UK Market
What are the new labelling requirements?
The new UK labelling rules will come into force in January 2024. From 1st January 2024, pre-packaged food sold in Great Britain need to include the following information on the label:
• Address in the UK of the business whose name the food is marketed under, or
• Address in the UK of the business that has imported the food.
The address on the label needs to be a physical address where your business can be contacted by mail. You may add additional contact details such as an email address or phone number in addition to the address. You may also design and use one label that meets both EU and UK requirements if you intend to place your food product on both markets.
What about foods sold in Northern Ireland?
Pre-packaged food sold in Northern Ireland must have a label that includes an address based in Northern Ireland or the European Union.
Who is responsible for labelling information on a label?
The food business operator responsible for food information is:
• the operator under whose name or business name the food is marketed, or
• if that operator is not established in the EU, the importer into the EU market.
The ‘responsible’ food business operator in the EU must ensure the presence and accuracy of the food information in accordance with the applicable EU food information law and any requirements of relevant national provisions.
For a UK address, what options are available to Irish food producers?
There are several options available to Irish food producers to ensure you have a physical address in the UK where your business can be contacted by mail.
• Use your own business entity in the UK.
• Use your importer’s address.
• Use the services of a Third Party Authorised representative.
Each option comes with a variety of legal requirements, and it is the responsibility of the business owner to ensure that all legal requirements are met. It is important that any Irish food producer examines the options closely to make the best decision for your business.
Can I use a Northern Irish address on my food label for the UK market?
For food labelling purposes, the address of a food business operator established in Northern Ireland is accepted as an EU address. Under the terms of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, EU food law applies to and in Northern Ireland.
Pre-packaged food sold in Northern Ireland must have a label that includes an address based in Northern Ireland or the European Union. Food which is produced in Northen Ireland for sale in GB should have a UK address or address of the imported into the UK (which can be in addition to the NI address).
Can an EU and a UK address appear on the same food label for the UK market?
Yes. For food on sale in the EU, a UK address can be indicated on the label in addition to but not in place of the EU address. The inclusion of this additional address on a label must not hide, obscure, detract from or interrupt the mandatory EU address.
For food on sale in the UK, an EU address can be indicated on the label in addition to but not in place of the UK address.
Can I use a web address on my UK label?
For food placed on the market in the EU, the address provided must be a physical address within the EU. A web address or e-mail can be included in addition to the physical address.
For food being placed on the market in the UK, the address provided must be a physical address within the UK. A web address or e-mail can be included in addition to the physical address.
Did Brexit affect origin labelling? What are the origin labelling requirements for products on the UK market?
For products that require origin labelling, e.g., honey, you need to consider that the UK is no longer part of the EU for origin labelling and reference to EU/Non-EU must be changed to UK/Non-UK. For example, if you currently label your honey ‘blend of EU honeys’ and it contains EU and UK honey, then the label will need to be changed to ‘blend of EU and UK honeys’. This requirement also applies from 1st January 2024.
UK Government Guidance on specific country of origin labelling requirements is available in links below:
• Food labelling: country of origin
• Food labelling and packaging
Where can I find further information on UK labelling requirements?
For further information on UK labelling requirements, please visit the UK government website or the UK Food standards authority website.
Where can I find further information on EU labelling?
Visit our labelling legislation section for more information on general labelling requirements.