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UK Food and Drink Associations Express Concern Over ‘Not for EU’ Labelling Plan Approval

UK Food and Drink Associations Express Concern Over 'Not for EU' Labelling Plan Approval Baby food, Bakery and Cereal, confectionery, Dairy & Soy Food, eggs, Fish & Seafood, Fresh produce, Frozen, ice cream, meat, meat alternatives, Pan-industry, Refrigerated, Savoury Snacks, seafood alternatives, Shelf-stable, Vegetarian and Vegan Food and Beverage Business

The UK food and drinks industry is facing concerns over new ‘not for EU’ labels which are to be introduced on all goods targeted at the domestic market. This move has raised worries among food and beverage manufacturers and processors, who fear the potential impact on their members. The UK government plans to roll out the labelling requirements across Great Britain in October 2024 and in the final phase for composite products in July 2025.

The new labelling requirements are part of the government’s efforts to smooth post-Brexit trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The additional costs arising from the new labelling requirements is a major concern raised by industry body executives. They believe this will have a chilling effect on UK food and drink exports, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and on investment in UK businesses.

Karen Betts, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, emphasized that the proposed ‘not for EU’ labels have the potential to push up manufacturing costs and ultimately prices for consumers. This comes at a time when the industry is already experiencing a cost-of-living crisis.

The government’s current plan to apply labelling requirements on agri-food products across the UK raises concerns about the effective implementation of this change within an unrealistically short timeframe. This is in addition to the post-Brexit Border Model operating teething issues, adding a lot of complex changes for companies to implement.

Rod Addy, director general of The Provision Trade Federation, highlighted the extreme costs associated with implementing the new labelling requirements for businesses. He pointed out that the new labels could cost one dairy company £1m a year, in addition to the staff costs and investment in new labelling machines.

Overall, the transition to the new labelling requirements, alongside the launch of the post-Brexit Border Model, presents significant challenges for the food and beverage industry. The absence of a consultation prior to any decision on the rollout of the ‘not for EU’ labelling requirement is another area of concern for the industry.

Despite these challenges, efforts to remove checks on the movement of goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain have helped to restore the power-sharing executive at Stormont, Northern Ireland’s devolved seat of government. However, the concerns around the potential impact of the new labelling requirements on the food and beverage industry persist.

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