Food importers of prepacked foods from Europe (EU) into Great Britain (GB) should ensure there is a GB based Food Business Operator (FBO) and address on their labelling ahead of 1st January 2024.
This is part of the mandatory food information required under retained EU regulation 1169/2011 art 8(1) ‘The food business operator responsible for the food information shall be the operator under whose name or business name the food is marketed or, if that operator is not established in the [British Islands], the importer into the [British Islands].’
The UK FBO accepts legal responsibility for the food, including legal compliance and food safety and the presence and accuracy of the food information on the label.
You can use an EU, GB or NI address for the FBO on pre-packaged food or caseins sold in GB until 31 December 2023. From 1 January 2024, pre-packaged food or caseins sold in GB must include a UK address for the FBO .
If the FBO is not in the UK, the address of the importer, based in the UK must be used.
Goods sold in Northern Ireland continue to follow EU rules for food labelling since 2021 as a consequence of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Pre-packaged food or caseins sold in EU or Northern Ireland (NI) must therefore include a NI or EU FBO address. If the FBO is not in NI or EU, the address of the importer, based in NI or the EU must be used.
For GB, a label which carries both the addresses of an FBO responsible for the information based in GB and one based in the EU27/NI is permissible and will ensure address requirements are met for both markets, allowing the product to marketed in both EU27/NI and GB.
The address needs to be a physical address where your business can be contacted by mail. You cannot use an email address or phone number.
Food labelling: giving food information to consumers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
POAO and Meat
The deadline to use UK/EC identification marks in the GB market – needed for products of animal origin (POAO) – is also 1 January 2024.
For beef, veal and minced meat placed on the GB market from 1st January 2024 ’UK’ or ‘non-UK’ must be used when the label does not list each country of origin. Up to that date a business has been able to refer to ‘EU’ or ‘non-EU’ when the label did not list each country of origin. Food labelling: country of origin - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
'Placed on the Market'
A product imported from the EU to GB will be considered as placed on the GB market when it is made available for distribution, consumption or use in the course of a commercial activity in GB for the first time.
It would therefore be possible for food product to sell through the supply chain if it has been placed on the GB market ahead of 1st Jan 2024.
Defra’s guidance on food labelling changes is available here.
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