Q.1 With Brexit, according to the new rules, certain EU suppliers have to provide a UK address on their packaging. This applies e.g. for food (deadline 30 Sep 2022) and other products such as candles in line with product safety law. It is not clear whether or not these companies need a UK establishment to comply with this UK address request or if an address such as this would be sufficient as we would know who to contact in case of a complaint or problem with a BE manufacturer. We have been doing this for years for BE and LUX banks e.g. who have no UK establishment and for whom is the processing agent. It works perfectly fine as inspectors can come and see us and mail is opened and scanned to the BE companies. The standard answer we get is that the importer’s address should be used but in many instances, the importer is in actual fact the BE company who has a UK VAT number but not UK establishment. Also, is there a transition period for having this address on the packaging. For Food it is clear but what for other instances?
A. From 1 October 2022, pre-packaged food or caseins sold in GB must include a UK address for the Food Business Operator (FBO). For the purpose of Article 8(1) of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation retained in UK law, an FBO is the business responsible for marketing the food and must also either be established in the UK or, if not established, the importer based in the UK is the FBO responsible. This must the importer who actually imports the specific products concerned. To be "established", the FBO must have a physical presence in the UK by way of a unit of food business which needs to be able to take responsibility for the goods and for the presence and accuracy of the food information on the label on the goods presented to the consumer in the GB market. Under general food law, a "food business" means any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of production, processing and distribution of food and a "food business operator" means the natural or legal person responsible for ensuring that the requirement of food law are met within the food business under their control. To meet the purpose of regulatory provisions the name and the address of the FBO given must be genuine and substantive enough to enable the FBO or the importer to be contacted directly, quickly ans easily concerning any issues arising from their product and to allow enforcement notices to be served if necessary. In order for the BLCC, or any other organisation, to be the name and address of the food label, it needs as a matter of fact to fulfil one or the other of the conditions set out in the legislation; being the FBO established in the UK and therefore the name or business name under which the food is marketed; or being, again as a matter of fact, the importer of the food into the UK. It is unlikely that an EU Chamber of Commerce with offices in the UK acting for a European FBO which is ot established in the UK simply for the purposes of forwarding information to them will be interpreted by GB Local Authority Trading Standards Officers as being suffcient. Until 30 September 2022, prepacked food and caseins can continue to use and EU, GB or NI address for the FBO on the GB market. You can further information about food labelling here: Food labelling: giving food information to consumers- GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)