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When shipping food there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration to make sure that packages arrive quickly, efficiently and undamaged. We play our part with our range of tough, highly effective temperature controlled shipping systems, but you need to make sure you tick all your boxes too!

The do’s and don’ts of sending food packages abroad

Licensed businesses working in consumer products can send a range of different foods abroad if they follow the safety packaging, labelling and importation regulations of the country they are sending the products to. There must be the required certificates in place and food items should be packed efficiently for shipping.

There are different regulations that apply as to what you can send internationally to countries like the United States and Australia, but as a continent, countries in Europe all follow the same general guidelines.

European regulations for sending foodstuffs abroad

There are certain regulations that need to be followed when a business is packaging and sending food or drink products within the EU, even though at present there are no customs checks for food between the UK and the EU.

Food labelling and packaging

To send food and drink products abroad, they must be clearly labelled as such. This label must be easy and clear to read and it should be printed in permanent ink, so the labelling does not rub off or become unreadable. The label also needs to be in clear view and not misleading (i.e. it should not contain information about products not contained in the package, or hide what is inside).

Products sold loose or from catering businesseses

If a catering business sells food loose or in pre-made packages for sale in-store, the label needs to show:

  • The name of the food
  • If any of the ingredients used have been tampered with to be lightened or genetically modified
  • Necessary warnings
  • Any food additives that have been included
  • Allergy information

What food labelling must show

When labelling the food, the following information must be provided.

  • The name of the food contained
  • A best before/use-by date
  • Any warnings that may be important
  • Net quantity information
  • A list of ingredients
  • The name and address of the UK business who is responsible for providing the information on the food
  • The country of origin, if required
  • Any specific storage conditions
  • Cooking instructions, if required

What will happen to the EU regulations after the Brexit transition period?

If a business is in the food industry and sends food abroad, it will still be able to continue after 31st January 2020, due to the current transition period to the end of the year. During this transition period, businesses will be able to trade with the EU on the same terms as before because there are no immediate changes that will be put into place before 1st January 2021.

From the 1st January 2021, the EU has issued guidance on what will change concerning exporting to the EU.

  • All food products that have been placed in the EU market before 2021 can continue to be sold and distributed to the EU without any changes to labelling.
  • Pre-packaged food and caseins must have an EU address on the packaging for the EU importer or the food business operator (FBO)
  • There will be no EU emblem used on goods produced in the UK from January 2021 unless a business has been authorised by the EU to do so.