Food labelling and packaging for export and import

Introduction

Guide

The EU law that continues to apply to Northern Ireland after 1 January 2021 is specified in Annex II to the Northern Ireland Protocol. Food and feed products produced in NI or placed on the NI market need to comply with EU food law. See the latest EU Exit guidance for the food and drink sector.

Foods intended for Northern Ireland (NI) and European Union (EU) countries must comply with EU and national laws. Controls can be complex and can change often due to public health concerns. For example, certain foods may be banned or restricted. Most food can move freely within the EU once they meet the requirements. Food imported from outside the EU must comply with EU food hygiene law and may also be subject to further EU restrictions.

The laws are aimed at protecting consumers and providing food traceability, which includes the right labelling and packaging requirements. Traders should see these labelling requirements as part of their requirement to provide an audit trail for their goods.

This guide explains food labelling in NI and European Union, including meat and fruit and vegetable labelling rules. It also outlines how to package food for export or import. It includes a food handling and safety checklist for importers. This guide also details where to find help and support with food labelling and packaging.