There are fears that the Government has already missed an important deadline that means food companies will not be ready to trade in the same way as usual from Jan 1st 2021.
UK trade associations repeatedly warned the government that the end of August was the deadline for publishing guidance to allow them to produce new labels in time for the start of new year, reports the Business Insider .
This would mean that Post-Brexit British exporters will have to use different food labels for EU countries and the UK. This even includes new labels for Northern Ireland.
If new labelling is brought in then the promise of ‘unfettered’ trade with Northern Ireland will not occur.
In this scenario is could lead to large scale retailers pulling out of the country which could lead to food shortages in Northern Ireland.
Aodhan Connolly, the director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said: “Labelling isn’t something that you can fudge. It has to be exact if you want goods to be able to go to market.”
Alex Turtle, the Food and Drink Federation’s labelling and enforcement manager, told the publication: “With the transition period nearing its end, UK-EU negotiations still ongoing, and updates to official guidance still awaited, the food industry has already practically run out of time to process the necessary label changes ahead of the January 2021 deadline,”
He continued: “The UK’s exit from the EU requires food labels to be adapted as never before due to the unique situation of the country’s status change. These label changes are complex, and clarity from the Government is urgently required in order for industry to be able to create compliant food labels post-exit.”