The European Commission and the UK Government have agreed on the requirements for food labelling in retail. A label will be applied at different levels, starting with individual products, boxes, shelf boards and posters. Milk, butter, meat, fish and vegetables will be labelled “not for the EU” across the UK and not just in Northern Ireland, the government announced in its latest Brexit plan.
From October, almost all British foodstuffs transported to Northern Ireland will be able to pass through the “green strip”. The green strip will ensure that goods shipped from the UK do not have to undergo border control to meet European Union standards, provided they carry the label.
However, the new labelling rules, established under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Windsor framework agreement, have led to confusion among business owners who have demanded more explanation from the government.
Andrew Opie, member of the British Retail Consortium: “if we don’t hear guidelines that are workable soon, there will be problems in the chain in October.”
Some British politicians and businessmen are sceptical about the new regulations. Former minister David Jones:
“there is no good reason why food produced and sold in any part of the UK should carry the’ not for the EU ‘ label, let alone if it is sold in mainland Britain.”
Nigel Dodds, a member of the House of Lords, called the new rules “nonsense” and said:
“This is a huge additional expense and inconvenience for all UK producers. These stickers should be applied to each individual pre-packaged food.”