Food and Drink Labelling (UK from 1st Jan 2021)

Food and drink producers, manufacturers, retailers and suppliers in Great Britain (GB) must change labels if dealing with the EU from 1 January 2021.

The DEFRA instruction – here – is to contact the EU importer to find out how the EU’s labelling requirements will affect a particular GB export product from 1 Jan 2021.

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 need to meet EU rules.

Food business operator (FBO) address

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

EU organic logo

The EU organics logo must not be used from 1 January 2021 unless:

• the 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 the control body to stay up to date.

If the UK and the EU do not reach an equivalency deal, organic food cannot be exported (from GB) to the EU and be labelled organic. Food can still be exported using non-organic labelling if it meets all other marketing standards and any organic labelling is removed or covered.

EU emblem

The EU emblem must not be used on goods produced in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from 1 January 2021 unless authorised by the EU to do so.

Health and Identifcation Marks (food products of animal origin – POAO)

Information on POAO health and identification marks that apply from 1st Jan 2021 is here.

Country of origin labels

Food from and sold in NI can continue to use ‘origin EU’ from 1 January 2021.

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’.

Please read further in the DEFRA instruction for specifics of particular animal products, and the use of geographical indicators.

Export Health Certificates (UK from 1st Jan 2021)

From 1 January 2021, an export health certificate (EHC) will be required to export products of animal origin from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) to the EU or to move them to Northern Ireland.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency has issued information – here.

If located in Northern Ireland, an EHC is NOT required to export to the EU. Contact DAERA on 02877 442 060 to find out the stipulations.

GB to EU exports or GB to NI movements that are planned for 1 January 2021 onwards should be prepared for by registering to use the new EHC service and drafting applications for EHCs from 13 October 2020.

The official vet or inspector who will certify the EHC should be contacted before any applications are submitted to the EHC service.

The application process for the new EHC service is contained in this link – here.

In England, Scotland and Wales, call APHA on 03000 200 301.

EU Safer Food Package (EU and UK from 1st Jan 2021)

The smarter rules for safer food (SRSF) package is a set of EU regulations for the protection against animal disease and plant pests. The package modernises, simplifies and improves existing health and safety standards for the agri-food chain. It takes a risk-based approach to animal, plant and public health protection, introducing more efficient pest and disease control measures.

The package includes 3 principal EU regulations:

• Official Controls Regulation (EU) 2017/625: how controls across the agri-food chain will be monitored and enforced – applies from 14 December 2019

• Plant Health Regulation (EU) 2016/2031: controls for protecting plants from disease and pests – applies from 14 December 2019

• Animal Health Regulation (EU) 2016/429: a framework for the principles of European animal health – applies from 21 April 2021

The new Official Controls and Plant Health Regulations now apply in the UK. From 1 January 2021, these regulations will be retained by the Withdrawal Act and will continue to apply subject to any amendments Parliament may agree. UK legislation is also enacted.

The new Animal Health Regulation is not applicable until 21 April 2021, after the end of the transition period, and so the UK is not obliged to implement it.

EU Official Controls Regulation 2017/625

The new EU Official Controls Regulation (OCR) was published on 15 March 2017 and will apply in EU member states from 14 December 2019, alongside the Plant Health Regulation.

It sets out mechanisms for ensuring that responsible persons and authorities enforce the rules and must verify that businesses are complying with the legal requirements. It explains what action enforcement authorities must take when they spot such non-compliance. This covers:

• food and food safety, integrity and wholesomeness at any stage of production, processing and distribution of food

• feed and feed safety at any stage of production, processing and distribution of feed and the use of feed

• animal health requirements

• prevention and minimisation of risks to human and animal health emerging from animal by-products and derived products

• welfare requirements for animals

• protective measures against pests of plants

• requirements for the placing on the market and use of plant protection products and the sustainable use of pesticides, with the exception of pesticides application equipment

• organic production and labelling of organic products

• use and labelling of protected designations of origin, protected geographical indications and traditional specialities guaranteed

• deliberate release into the environment of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) for the purpose of food and feed production.

The requirements of the OCR legislation cover how inspections, audits and sampling take place. It simplifies the current rules and makes sure there is consistency across the entire agricultural industry and food chain by including plants and plant products and animal by-products.

The OCR simplifies and brings together several existing control rules. It repeals Regulation 882/2004 and Regulation 854/2004.

Some of the areas changing include:

• extending official controls to plant health and animal by-products

• increasing the transparency of controls carried out by national enforcement authorities

• creating a common framework for carrying out border controls on animals and goods entering or crossing the EU

• strengthening controls to identify fraudulent practices at an early stage

• modernising the computerised systems for the management of data and information on official controls

EU Plant Health Regulation 2016/2031

The EU Plant Health Regulation (PHR) was published on 26 October 2016 and will apply to EU member states from 14 December 2019, alongside the Official Controls Regulation.

The new EU PHR sets out controls and restrictions that will apply to imports and internal movement of certain plants, plant pests, and other materials like soil, to help reduce these risks.

The SRSF package revises and improves the current EU plant health legislation. The PHR repeals Directive 2000/29.

Some of the areas changing include:

• extending the scope and changing the format of plant passporting

• new requirements for authorisation to issue plant passports

• more goods imported to the EU will need a phytosanitary certificate

• new requirements for the registration of professional operators

• movements within the EU – restrictions between disease free and pest free areas

• a strengthened protected zone

• new requirements applying to high risk plants and regulated non quarantine pests (RNQPs)

• a more precautionary approach to new trade flows and a commitment to undertake thorough pest risk assessments

• new category of priority pests, including annual surveying requirements and outbreak contingency planning

EU Animal Health Regulation 2016/429

The EU Animal Health Regulation (AHR) was published on 31 March 2016.

The UK and other EU member states are currently in a 5-year implementation period for AHR. The new rules will apply in EU member states from 21 April 2021.

The AHR outlines the principles of European animal health, supporting:

• a quick reaction in cases of emerging animal diseases and controlling outbreaks as effectively and efficiently as possible

• a consistent approach in dealing with different animal health diseases

• reducing the effect of animal disease outbreaks on animal and public health, animal welfare, the economy and the wider rural community

• functioning of the EU internal market in animals and animal products.

The above is not a full list, please read the contents of the webpage – here.

Further useful information is here.

Note: a plant passport is NOT the same as a phytosanitary certificate.

Plants and Plant Products (UK from 1st Jan 2021)

‘Plant’ means a living plant (including a fungus or tree) or a living part of a plant (including a living part of a fungus or shrub), at any stage of growth.

‘Plant product’ means products of plant origin, unprocessed or having undergone simple preparation, in so far as these are not plants, including wood and bark.

Instructions are issued by DEFRA and APHA for Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) – here.

We await the instructions for Northern Ireland.

Importing plants and plant products from the EU from 1 January 2021

High-priority plants and plant products from the EU must have:

• a phytosanitary certificate (PC)

• a pre-notification submitted by the importer in England, Scotland or Wales

• documentary and identity checks

• a physical inspection

The importer will pay for these services.

High-priority plants and plant products from the EU that will need a PC from 1 January 2021 include:

• all plants for planting

• ware potatoes

• some seed and timber

• used agricultural or forestry machinery

The importer must pre-notify for imports of solid fuel wood that aren’t regulated. A PC is not required for these imports.

Importing plants and plant products from 1 April 2021

The importer must use the Import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS) to notify the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) or the Forestry Commission that regulated plants and plant products will be imported.

All regulated plants and plant products imported to England, Scotland or Wales from the EU must have phytosanitary certificates (PCs).

APHA will inspect the PCs in England and Wales. The Scottish Government will inspect PCs in Scotland.

Regulated plants and plant products include:

• all plants for planting

• root and tubercle vegetables

• some common fruits other than fruit preserves by deep freezing

• some cut flowers

• some seeds and grains

• leafy vegetables other than vegetables preserved by deep freezing

• potatoes from some countries

• machinery or vehicles which have been operated for agricultural or forestry purposes

Importing plants and plant products from 1 July 2021

Regulated plants and plant products will have extra documentary checks and physical inspections.

The importer must use IPAFFS to notify APHA or the Forestry Commission of the import of regulated plants and plant products.

Movement of wood packaging material

Wood packaging material (WPM) moving between the UK and the rest of the EU can currently move freely without checks or controls.

WPM includes:

• pallets

• crates

• boxes

• cable drums

• spools

• dunnage

From 1 January 2021 all WPM moving between the UK and the EU must meet ISPM15 international standards by undergoing heat treatment and marking. All WPM may be subject to official checks either upon or after entry to the EU.

Checks on WPM will continue to be carried out in the UK on a risk-targeted basis only. The plant health risk from WPM imported from the EU is not expected to change from 1 January 2021.

The above is not a full list, please read the entire webpage with its links – here.

Pesticides (UK from 1st Jan 2021)

From 1 January 2021, in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) a new independent pesticides regulatory regime will operate. Great Britain (GB) will take responsibility for its own decisions using its own rules.

Great Britain will have no formal role in EU decision-making processes and new decisions taken under the EU regime will not apply in GB. This includes active substance and Maximum Residue Level (MRL) decisions and any new EU Plant Protection Product (PPP) legislation.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will remain the national regulator for the whole of the UK, on behalf of the UK government and the devolved administrations.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol, the EU pesticides regime will continue to apply in Northern Ireland after the end of the transition period, in the same way as during the transition period.

Existing approvals, authorisations and MRLs

All existing active substance approvals, PPP authorisations and MRLs will continue to be valid in GB.

Existing PPP authorisations remain valid until their current expiry date.

Active substance approvals due to expire before December 2023 will be extended for 3 years to allow time for the necessary evaluation work.

After the end of the transition period Great Britain will set MRLs based on its own assessments but all existing MRLs will remain valid until they are amended.

Applicants will need to continue to meet any existing conditions under the new GB pesticide regime.

New applications

To gain access to both GB and EU markets new applications will need to be submitted under both the GB and EU regimes. This may be a common application where there is no divergence between the two regimes.

Mutual recognition

HSE will no longer accept new applications for mutual recognition of authorisations in EU Member States but will process any existing applications to a conclusion under the national GB regime.

The HSE will continue to make use of other regulators’ assessments where possible and appropriate to support GB decisions.

Parallel trade permits

HSE will no longer accept new applications for parallel trade permits in GB. Existing parallel trade permits will continue until their current expiry date or until 31 December 2022, whichever is the sooner.

The above is not a full list, further information is here.

Trader Support Service (Northern Ireland)

HMRC today advises the Trader Support Service is now available to be signed up to.

The Trader Support Service is established to assist persons moving goods between GB and Northern Ireland.

The Sign Up is here (on the Trader Support Service website).

The HMRC announcement is here.

REACH Chemical Legislation (UK Brexit)

On 1 September, DEFRA updated its existing webpage guidance for – How to comply with the EU’s REACH chemical regulations when using, making, selling or importing chemicals in the EU, and how to prepare for 1 January 2021 – here.

Per the webpage –

UK REACH, the UK’s independent chemicals regulatory framework, starts on 1 January 2021. Anyone making, selling or distributing chemicals in the UK and the EU needs to follow UK REACH and EU REACH rules.

UK REACH will maintain EU REACH’s aims and principles. These include:

• the “no data, no market” principle

• the “last resort” principle on animal testing

• access to information for workers

• the precautionary principle

The government intends to extend the deadlines for submitting data under UK REACH transitional provisions subject to scrutiny by parliament and the devolved administrations. This guidance includes these extension dates rather than those currently provided in UK REACH legislation.

Please note the new deadlines in the DEFRA updated webpage.

GB-based companies currently registered with EU REACH will no longer be able to sell into the EEA market without transferring their registrations to an EU/EEA-based organisation. This registration transfer stipulation is set out in the EU instruction notice – here.

Registration transfer to an EU/EEA-based Organisation will not apply in Northern Ireland. We await confirmation on the application of UK REACH in Northern Ireland.

Per the webpage –

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the process for Northern Ireland businesses moving goods to and from the European Union under EU REACH will not change from 1 January 2021. Further guidance will be published for NI businesses moving goods into the GB market.

EU REACH registrations held by UK-based companies will carry across directly into UK REACH, legally ‘grandfathering’ the registrations into the new regime.

UK-based holders of existing EU REACH registrations may continue the ‘grandfathering’ process by providing basic information to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) by 30 April 2021.

Holders must complete the grandfathering process within 2, 4 or 6 years of 28 October 2021, depending on their Tonnage Band Deadlines.

Per the webpage –

The information UK-based holders need to provide will be the same or very close to what holders previously provided. Defra will publish any changes to the information needed in September 2020.

Businesses importing chemicals from the EU currently relying on a registration held by an EU/EEA-based company can continue importing substances as they do now on 1 January 2021. They will need to take subsequent actions to ensure that the chemical is registered for UK REACH purposes.

These UK downstream users must notify the HSE using a Downstream User Import Notification (DUIN) of their intention to continue importing substances from the EU/EEA by 27 October 2021.

A new registration must then be submitted to the HSE within 2, 4 or 6 years of 28 October 2021. Alternatively, UK downstream users can encourage their EU/EEA supplier to appoint a UK-based Only Representative (OR), or change their source to a UK registered supplier.

It’s possible to submit DUINs if a chemical is covered by a registration held by an EU/EEA-based OR and then sold into the UK.

The online service ‘Comply with UK REACH’ will go live on 1 January 2021. Businesses can use the service to:

• validate existing UK-held EU registrations (‘Grandfathering’)

• submit downstream user import notifications (DUIN)

• submit new substance registrations

• submit new product and process orientated research and development (PPORD) notifications

Businesses will need to coontact the HSE to ensure that they:

• validate existing UK-held product and process orientated research and development (PPORDs), known as ‘grandfathering’

• provide information on any authorisation matter,including new authorisation application, grandfathering of existing authorisations, and downstream user notifications of authorised uses

The above is NOT a full list of the stipulations in the updated webpage. Please read all parts of the webpage for all instructions.

UK Internal Market Bill (UK)

A highly complex bill was introduced yesterday at First Reading. This bill is here.

Explanatory Notes for the bill are here.

The Institute for Government has a useful explainer here.

I Blog posted about the possibility of an Internal Market Bill earlier this year. In the meantime, the UK Government published a policy paper and conducted a short consultation.

From 1 Jan 2021, the UK government and the devolved administrations will no longer be collectively bound by EU law. As powers over key policy areas return to the UK government and the devolved administrations, there is a possibility that different parts of the UK may in future make different rules. This could create barriers to trade between constituent parts of the UK.

The UK Internal Market (UKIM) Bill would rely on the principles of mutual recognition and non-discrimination to ensure there are no new barriers for businesses trading across the UK.

The UK government argues that this bill will be necessary to underpin the functioning of the UK internal market after the end of the transition period – but the Scottish and Welsh governments are opposed to this approach. Instead, they would prefer to manage any possible new barriers to trade through mutually-agreed common frameworks in specific policy areas.

The government is also using this bill to give ministers powers to amend how the UK could implement the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement – if it can’t reach key decisions with the EU. The government has said that it will use the forthcoming Finance Bill (not yet published) to give ministers further powers with relation to the Northern Ireland protocol.

Clauses set out new monitoring responsibilities of the internal market for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which will be exercised through an Office for the Internal Market (OIM).

The CMA will have powers to monitor and report on the effectiveness of the internal market, under its own initiative or at the request of the UK or devolved governments. Although its remit will be limited to regulations which fall within the scope of the earlier parts of the bill (and will exclude anything giving effect to the Northern Ireland protocol).

The government plans to pass the UK Internal Market Bill before the UK leaves the transition period at 11pm on 31 December – this means there will be limited time for parliament to scrutinise this constitutionally significant piece of legislation.

It will need to pass both the Commons and the Lords before it can become law, and both Houses will be able to table amendments.

Manufactured Goods (UK from 1st Jan 2021)

On 1st Sept 2020, the UK issued instructions for persons placing manufactured goods on the UK market after 1 Jan 2021. These instructions are here.

The instructions detail the situation for the GB market, separate links access instructions for GB companies placing goods on the EU market, and for Northern Ireland. Please follow those links and read the information set out there.

Separate rules apply to chemicals, medicines, vehicles and aerospace. Follow the links for the latest information. Medicines is well elaborated.

There are also rules for goods that are not covered by EU rules. Follow those links for the latest information there.

Finally, some other categories have particular rules, follow those links.

Please read my separate Blog post on UKCA marking. Note, UKCA marking will not be recognised in the EU or Northern Ireland markets. Products currently requiring a CE marking for sale in the EU will continue to need a CE mark.

Note, distributors of EU goods in the UK will become importers from 1 Jan 2021.

Queries should be sent to BEIS.

UKCA Mark (UK from 1st Jan 2021)

On 1st September, the UK issued instructions for manufactured goods (and some other classes of goods), together with instructions on the UKCA mark applicable from 1st Jan 2021.

The UKCA mark instructions are here.

The instructions for manufactured goods are here.

The instructions for medical devices are here (note CE marked goods can circulate in GB until 30 June 2023).

The instructions for construction products are here.

The instructions for explosives are here. (HSE)

The instructions for rail interoperability are here. (dating from 1st July 2020)

UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking is a new UK product marking that will be used for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most goods which previously required the CE marking, and aerosol products. I Blog posted some time ago about UKCA marking coming in.

UKCA marking alone cannot be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market, which will continue to require CE marking or UK(NI) marking.

The technical requirements (‘essential requirements’) and the conformity assessment processes and standards that can be used to demonstrate conformity – will be largely the same from 1st Jan 2021 as they are now.

UKCA marking can be used from 1 January 2021. However, CE marking will be permitted until 1 January 2022 in most cases.

CE marking will only be valid in Great Britain for areas where GB and EU rules remain the same. If the EU changes its rules and the product carries the CE mark on the basis of those new rules, CE marking will not be permitted for sales in Great Britain even before 31 December 2021. Please look out for Blog posts.

UKCA marking will not be recognised on the EU market. Products currently requiring a CE marking will need a CE marking for sale in the EU from 1 January 2021. [note from 1 Jan 2021, CE marks must be issued by legal entities based in the EU]

UKCA marking does not apply to existing stock, for example if the good was fully manufactured and ready to place on the market before 1 Jan 2021. In these cases the good can be sold in Great Britain with a CE marking even if covered by a certificate of conformity issued by a UK body.

On 1 Jan 2021 UK standards will be the same in substance and with the same reference as the standards used in the EU. However, they will use the prefix ‘BS’ to indicate that they are standards adopted by the British Standards Institution as the UK’s national standards body.

From 1 Jan 2022, CE marks will not be recognised in Great Britain for areas covered by the UKCA mark instructions and the UKCA marking. However, a product bearing the CE marking would still be valid for sale in the UK so long as it was also UKCA marked and complied with the relevant UK rules. Separate rules apply to medical devices (see the link above).

Product areas covered by the UKCA marking

• Toy safety

• Recreational craft and personal watercraft

• Simple pressure vessels

• Electromagnetic compatibility

• Non-automatic weighing instruments

• Measuring instruments

• Lifts

• ATEX

• Radio equipment

• Pressure equipment

• Personal protective equipment

• Gas appliances

• Machinery

• Outdoor noise

• Ecodesign

• Aerosols

• Low voltage electrical equipment

• Restriction of hazardous substances

All enquiries should be to BEIS.

This is a summary, please follow the links and read the instructions in full.