Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - EU - 2018

Commission Notice, 1 February 2018

BREXIT - Notice To Stakeholders: Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU Food Law

The Commission has issue a formal notice indicating the implications for food businesses in the event that the UK should leave the EU on the 29 March 2017 with no transitional provisions having been agreed. Given below is the opening section from the notice.

Notice To Stakeholders: Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU Food Law

A copy of this Notice is available on this site (Click on the image)

The United Kingdom submitted on 29 March 2017 the notification of its intention to withdraw from the Union pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. This means that, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement [See Note 1 below] establishes another date, all Union primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the United Kingdom from 30 March 2019, 00:00h (CET) ('the withdrawal date').[See Note 2 below] The United Kingdom will then become a 'third country'.[See Note 3 below]

Preparing for the withdrawal is not just a matter for EU and national authorities but also for private parties. 

In view of the considerable uncertainties, in particular concerning the content of a possible withdrawal agreement, food business operators are reminded of legal repercussions, which need to be considered when the United Kingdom becomes a third country.

Subject to any transitional arrangement that may be contained in a possible withdrawal agreement, as of the withdrawal date, EU food law [See Note 4 below] no longer applies to the United Kingdom. The legal consequences presented below stem from EU food law with regard to food placed on the EU-27 market5 as from the withdrawal date and coming from a third country (i.e. imported).  This notice is also relevant for food coming from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.[SeeNote 6 below]  


  1. Negotiations are ongoing with the United Kingdom with a view to reaching a withdrawal agreement.
  2. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, the European Council, in agreement with the United Kingdom, may unanimously decide that the Treaties cease to apply at a later date.
  3. A third country is a country not member of the EU.
  4. See Article 3(1) of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety (OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1). This notice also addresses the EU rules on organic production. This notice does not address the EU quality schemes (Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and the Protected Geographical Indication - PGI). Nor does this notice address introduction into the Union of personal consignments of products of animal origin of a non commercial character which form part of travellers' luggage, or are sent as small consignments to private persons, or are ordered remotely (for example, by mail, by telephone or via the internet) and delivered to the consumer (see Commission Regulation (EC) No 206/2009 of 5 March 2009 on the introduction into the Community of personal consignments of products of animal origin and amending Regulation (EC) No 136/2004, OJ L 77, 24.3.2009, p. 1).
  5. For goods, including food, placed on the EU market before the withdrawal date, the EU is trying to agree solutions with the United Kingdom in the withdrawal agreement. The essential principles of the EU's position on goods, including food, placed on the market under Union law before the withdrawal date are available here: Please note that the essential principles of the EU's position on goods build on one single definition of "placing on the market" ("first making available on the market").
  6. Regulation (EEC) No 706/73 of the Council of 12 March 1973 concerning the Community arrangements applicable to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man for trade in agricultural products (OJ L 68, 15.3.1973. p. 1).

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