Food labelling: amending laws

Closed 4 Dec 2018

Opened 6 Nov 2018

Results expected 7 Feb 2019



On 23 June 2016, the EU referendum took place and the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Government intervention in food information to consumers is necessary to correct retained EU law that will be incorporated into domestic law by the Withdrawal Act. Amendments are being made so that the law that applies in the UK in relation to food information provided to consumers functions on day one of exiting the European Union.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is intending to make the necessary amendments to relevant retained EU legislation, including for the unlikely eventuality of the UK leaving the EU without a deal: the effects of the amendments being made for this specific outcome  are set out in this document.

The EU General Food Law (Article 9 of Regulation 178/2002) also requires the UK government to consult when it plans to revise food laws. This is a public consultation and it is open to anyone with an interest to provide comments and should be of particular interest to those in the Food and Drink industry.

The proposals would extend and apply to the UK including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We will continue to work with the Devolved Administrations on areas where common frameworks will need to be retained in the future. This consultation does not preempt these discussions.

The deadline for responses is 4th December 2018.

Since the EU referendum the UK government has been working to secure a deep and comprehensive economic partnership with the European Union. Alongside this work Defra – like other government departments – has an extensive programme of work focused on preparing for a range of scenarios to make sure we are ready for the point when we leave the EU.  Leaving the EU will change things, but on the day we leave food producers and retailers will still be able to trade, and we will maintain our high standards of animal welfare and biosecurity protection.

The UK remains a full member of the European Union until 29 March 2019 and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future once the UK has left the EU.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and remove the applicability of EU law over UK law. Not all EU legislation converted to UK law will be fit for purpose and amendments (legal fixes) will be required in order to have a smooth transition and an operable framework on day one of exiting the EU. Whilst operability is key for the UK, it is important to ensure consumer confidence does not decrease in the process, as it remains one of the UK's highest priorities across the food and drink sector.

Overall, Defra has more than 40 EU Exit projects. The plans for each project prepare the country for both the range of negotiated outcomes, and for the unlikely eventuality of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, for the relevant policy areas affected by the UK leaving the EU. 

The plans explained in this consultation would apply in the specific outcome in which the EU and the UK were not to agree a partnership arrangement and common approach to food legislation after the UK leaves the EU.

If you would like to keep in contact with us to express interest in this, or any other Defra consultation, please give us your details through the link below

How to respond
We encourage respondents to provide not just their opinions but also the supporting facts and reasoning to inform the evidence base for the development of final proposals. Respondents do not have to answer both the questions and so can choose those of specific interest. Questions which you do not wish to respond to can be left blank.

Please respond by 4th December 2018.

Please respond through the online survey (Citizen Space) accessible via

Responses can also be sent by email or by post, specifying which question(s) you are responding to:

Food Labelling Team
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Second Floor, SE Quarter
Seacole Block
2 Marsham Street

A Welsh version of the consultation document can be requested by email

What Happens Next

Once the consultation has been closed, all responses will be considered and a summary of responses and Defra’s comments on those responses will be provided on GOV.UK.

Results will be available for viewing on 7th February 2019.


  • Food Business Operators
  • Food Industry
  • Devolved Administrations
  • Local Authorities
  • Consumer Groups
  • Manufacturing Industry
  • Farmers
  • SME businesses
  • Trading Standards Officers


  • Food labelling
  • Food standards
  • Egg industry
  • Poultry industry
  • Dairy industry
  • Wine industry
  • Protected food names
  • Food imports
  • Food and drink exports
  • Retailers
  • Meat Industry