Cumbersome ‘Not for EU’ labelling solution still poses problems
It looks like UK-wide Windsor Framework labelling requirements, which dictate that all retail packed meat sold anywhere in the UK carries the label ‘Not for EU’ will still apply under the new Northern Ireland Command Paper proposals. This solution was arrived at to “remove the disincentive for suppliers, manufacturers or retailers to place goods on the market in Northern Ireland.”
We share the wider concerns that this will add significantly to costs as it will require duplication of labels and businesses to hold more stock. It will also increase the risk of waste if packed products are limited to one market.
BMPA’s Trade Policy Adviser, Peter Hardwick explains: “Currently, a GB business which is fully compliant with EU rules, as the vast majority are, can have a single multi-language label or, as in the case of trade with the island of Ireland, an English language label along with the addresses of a UK and EU based responsible business allowing it to use a single label to sell goods across the GB and the EU.
“If this option is lost, businesses will have to manage two sets of stock and labels without the ability to flexibly switch destination. The just-in time supply chains that operate across the industry want manageable volumes frequently and flexibly to meet demand as it changes and to minimise stock and waste.”
Mr Hardwick goes on to point out that “there are also some odd quirks to the system as things stand. For example, operators choosing to send goods to NI through the red channel are not bound by the ‘Not for EU’ rule as they will have met all the certification requirements for the EU. However, they would be required to market the same, fully compliant product in GB with a ‘Not for EU’ label.
“Furthermore, goods produced in Ireland and marketed in Northern Ireland or GB will not need to meet this requirement creating a two-tier market in which consumers may perfectly reasonably assume that one set of product is good enough for the EU and another not.”