Guidance

Food and drink labelling changes from 1 January 2021

How food and drink producers, manufacturers, retailers and suppliers must change labels from 1 January 2021.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you'll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

Exporting to the EU

You should check with your EU importer how the EU’s labelling requirements will affect your products.

Food of animal origin placed on the EU market before 1 January 2021 can continue to circulate within the EU market without labelling changes.

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.

In the Withdrawal Agreement, a good is ‘placed on the market’ in the EU, when it is first supplied for distribution, consumption, or commercial use, whether free of charge or not.

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

Food business operator (FBO) address

Pre-packaged food and caseins must have an EU or NI address for the FBO, or an address of the EU or NI importer on the packaging or food label.

You must not use the EU organics logo from 1 January 2021 unless:

  • your UK control body is authorised by the EU to certify UK goods for export to the EU
  • the UK and the EU agree to recognise each other’s standards (called ‘equivalency’)

Contact your control body to stay up to date.

If the UK does not reach an equivalency deal with the EU, you cannot export organic food to the EU and label it as organic. You can still export the food using non-organic labelling if it meets all other marketing standards and you remove or cover any organic labelling.

Read more about trading and labelling organic food from 1 January 2021.

EU emblem

You must not use the EU emblem on goods produced in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from 1 January 2021 unless you have been authorised by the EU to do so.

EU health and identification marks

Read the Food Standards Agency’s guidance on the new health and identification marks.

Country of origin labels

Food from GB must not be labelled as ‘origin EU’ from 1 January 2021.

Food from NI can continue to use ‘origin EU’. You should label food from NI as ‘UK(NI)’ or ‘United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)’ where EU law requires member state from 1 January 2021.

Read more about country of origin food labelling.

Goods sold in Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland (NI)

This guidance is subject to agreement with devolved administrations and Parliamentary process.

You’ll need to make any required labelling changes for goods sold in GB by 30 September 2022.

Local authorities in GB will be responsible for enforcement of labelling changes.

Your label can contain other information if you need to comply with labelling requirements for another market.

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, goods sold in NI will continue to follow EU rules for food labelling. There will be changes to labelling that apply from the end of the transition period.

However, the UK Government recognises that businesses will need time to adapt to these new labelling rules.

The UK Government is working with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and district councils in NI on an enforcement approach of new labelling requirements on the NI market that takes these challenges into account.

In line with previous rule changes for labelling, there will be a proportionate and risk-based enforcement approach for:

  • identification marks;
  • Food Business Operator (FBO) address requirements
  • ‘UK(NI)’ origin labelling requirements

This approach will be implemented in a way which supports businesses as they adapt to the requirements over time.

EU health and identification marks

Read the Food Standards Agency’s guidance on the new health and identification marks.

Food business operator (FBO) address

Pre-packaged food or caseins sold in NI must include a NI or EU FBO address from 1 January 2021. If the FBO is not in NI or EU, include the address of your importer, based in NI or the EU.

You can continue to use an EU, GB or NI address for the FBO on pre-packaged food or caseins sold in GB until 30 September 2022.

From 1 October 2022, pre-packaged food or caseins sold in GB must include a UK address for the FBO. If the FBO is not in the UK, include the address of your importer, based in the UK.

EU organic logo

You must not use the EU organic logo on any UK organic food or feed from 1 January 2021, unless either:

  • your control body is authorised by the EU to certify UK goods for export to the EU
  • the UK and the EU agree to recognise each other’s standards (called equivalency)

Contact your control body to stay up to date.

You can continue to use your approved UK organic control body logo in GB.

In GB, you must change the statement of agriculture to ‘UK agriculture’ or ‘UK and non-UK agriculture’.

Find out more about trading and labelling organic food from 1 January 2021.

Country of origin labels

Where EU law does not require an EU member state to be indicated, food from and sold in NI can continue to use ‘origin EU’ or ‘origin UK’.

You should label food from and sold in NI as ‘UK(NI)’ or ‘United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)’ where EU law requires member state from 1 January 2021.

You may label food from NI and sold in GB as ‘UK(NI)’, ‘United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)’ or ‘UK’.

Food from and sold in GB can be labelled as ‘origin EU’ until 30 September 2022.

From 1 October 2022, food from GB must not be labelled as ‘origin EU’.

Read more about country of origin food labelling.

Minced meat

Minced meat sold in NI must refer to ‘EU’ and ‘non-EU’ when the label does not list each country of origin from 1 January 2021.

For minced meat sold in GB, you can continue to refer to ‘EU’ and ‘non-EU’ until 30 September 2022.

From 1 October 2022, you must use ‘non-UK’ or ‘UK and non-UK’ when the label does not list each country of origin.

Fruit and vegetables

For mixes of fruit and vegetables sold in NI, you must refer to ‘EU’ and ‘non-EU’ when the label does not list each country of origin.

For mixes of fruit and vegetables sold in GB you can continue to refer to ‘EU’ and ‘non-EU’ until 30 September 2022.

From 1 October 2022, you must use ‘non-UK’ or ‘UK and non-UK’ when the label does not list each country of origin. If you’re part of the Approved Trader Scheme, you must remove the EU emblem from your UK food labels and use the replacement GB label from 1 January 2021. You should sell existing stock with the EU emblem on only in GB, until it runs out.

Olive oil

Olive oil blends sold in NI must refer to ‘EU’ and ‘non-EU’ when the label does not list each country of origin from 1 January 2021.

From 1 October 2022 you cannot use the term ‘non-EU’ for olive oil blends sold in GB. If your extra virgin or virgin olive oil is a blend of oils from different countries, the label must contain one of the following:

  • a list of each country of origin
  • the statement ‘blend of olive oils from more than one country’ or similar wording
  • the name of the trading bloc to which a regional trade agreement applies, for example ‘blend of olive oils of European Union origin’

Honey blends

If you place honey on the UK market before 1 January 2021, it can stay on the market using the current origin wording if the label was accurate at the time:

  • ‘blend of EU honeys’
  • ‘blend of non-EU honeys’
  • ‘blend of EU and non-EU honeys’

You can continue to list the countries of origin of honey blends placed on the UK market from 1 January 2021. If you choose to use alternative wording the rules for labelling honey blends will change.

If you place a blend of honeys from different countries on the NI market from 1 January 2021 you must accurately reflect that GB honey is no longer EU honey and use one of the following terms:

  • ‘blend of EU honeys’
  • ‘blend of non-EU honeys’
  • ‘blend of EU and non-EU honeys’

For honey blends sold in England and Wales until 30 September 2022 you can use one of the following:

  • ‘blend of honeys from more than one country’ (or similar wording)
  • ‘blend of EU honeys’
  • ‘blend of non-EU honeys’
  • ‘blend of EU and non-EU honeys’

If you continue to use EU terms, you must ensure your label is accurate. For example, from 1 January 2021 a blend of UK and French honey placed on the market in England and Wales would either need to list both countries or use the words ‘blend of EU and non-EU honeys’ as the UK is no longer part of the EU.

From 1 October 2022 you must use ‘blend of honeys from more than one country’ (or similar wording) if you decide not to list each country of origin.

For honey blends sold in Scotland from 1 January 2021, options for labelling origin include the following:

  • ‘blend of honeys from more than one country’ (or similar wording)
  • reference to the trading bloc of the countries of origin, for example blend of EU honeys’, ‘blend of non-EU honeys’ or ‘blend of EU and non-EU honeys

If you continue to use trading bloc or EU terms, you must ensure your label is accurate. For example, from 1 January 2021 a blend of UK and French honey placed on the market in Scotland would either need to list both countries or use the words “blend of EU and non-EU honeys” as the UK is no longer part of the EU.

Beef and veal

Beef and veal sold in NI must refer to ‘Origin: non-EU’ if the animal your beef or veal came from was born, reared or slaughtered outside of the EU and you do not have the full individual country information from 1 January 2021.

For beef and veal sold in GB you can refer to ‘non EU’ until 30 September 2022.

From 1 October 2022, you must use ‘non-UK’ when the full individual country information is not available.

Eggs

You should continue to mark eggs imported and sold in NI that do not meet EU egg marketing and trade regulations as ‘non-EC standard’ from 1 January 2021. You can read about NI egg marketing standards.

In GB, you can continue to mark eggs that do not meet domestic egg trade regulations as ‘non-EC standard’ or ‘non-UK standard’ until 30 September 2022.

From 1 October 2022, you should mark these eggs as ‘non-UK standard’.

You can read about egg marketing standards from 1 January 2021.

GI-protected food or drink products (except wine or spirits) produced and for sale in GB must use the relevant UK logo on packaging and marketing materials, for example a website or advert.

The logo use is optional for GI-protected wine or spirits.

The UK will set up its own GI schemes from 1 January 2021.

Producers or retailers of GB food, drink and agricultural GI products registered before 1 January 2021, will have until 1 January 2024 to change packaging and marketing materials to display the new UK GI logos.

The UK logo will be mandatory for GB products registered from 1 January 2021 onwards.

For producers or retailers of food and agricultural GI products in NI, it will be:

  • mandatory to continue using the EU logos when the product is on sale in NI if the product is registered under the EU GI schemes
  • optional to use the new UK GI logos if the product is registered under the UK GI schemes

GI products that are protected in the EU can continue to use the EU logo in the UK after the transition period.

Find out more about protecting food and drink names from 1 January 2021.

Published 14 October 2020
Last updated 5 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added more detail to country of origin labels and food business operator (FBO) address sections.

  2. Added details about using the Great Britain Approved Trader Scheme label for fruit and vegetables from 1 January 2021.

  3. First published.