Brexit: Changes to health and identification marks

EU Exit guidance for businesses that use the health and identification marks for food products of animal origin such as meat, eggs, fish, cheese and milk.
Last updated

This guidance explains what you need to know in relation to health and identification marks:

  • during the current extension to Article 50
  • if the UK agrees a deal with the EU during that extension period
  • if the UK exits the EU without a deal at the end of that extension period

Article 50 extension

During the current extension to Article 50 the UK remains a full member of the EU. The current EC health and identification marks should continue to be used until the day the UK leaves the EU.

If the UK and EU agree a deal

If the UK Government and the EU agree a deal, the current EC health and identifications marks would continue to be used for the duration of any agreed implementation period.

If the UK exits the EU without a deal

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK would not be able to apply the EC health and identification marks to certain Products of Animal Origin (POAO) which have been produced in a UK-approved establishment.

This means the revised form of the health and identifications marks would need to be used from day one onwards for relevant products exported to the EU or non-EU countries.

The health marks would need to be replaced by one of three health marks:

  • GB
  • UK
  • UNITED KINGDOM

The health mark which is applied would depend on the intended market:

  • exporting POAO to the EU
  • exporting POAO to a non-EU country
  • POAO placed on the UK domestic market

Exporting POAO to the EU

For businesses which export POAO to the EU, the health and identification mark that must be applied is either:

  • the official two-digit ISO Code GB
  • or full country name in capital letters UNITED KINGDOM

Example health marks:

Thumbnail

Example identification marks:

Thumbnail

Exporting POAO to a non-EU country

For businesses which export POAO to a non-EU country, the revised GB or UNITED KINGDOM marks may be used. In addition, health and identification marks with the UK abbreviation (as below) are acceptable for exports to non-EU countries from day one in the event of a no deal situation.

Example identification marks:

Thumbnail

Example health marks:

Thumbnail

POAO placed on the UK domestic market

For POAO placed on the UK domestic market the following health and identification marks may be applied:

  • UK
  • GB
  • UNITED KINGDOM

Example identification marks:

Thumbnail

Example health marks:

Thumbnail

In a no deal situation the identification mark would need to change on day one for all products that are exported.

For those who export to the EU, the GB or full country name UNITED KINGDOM would need to be used on the identification mark.

For those who export to a non-EU country the GB, or full country name UNITED KINGDOM or UK mark could be used.

Industry may continue to use packaging carrying the EC identification mark for period of 21 months for new products placed on the UK market. This does not apply to products for export.

When will the different marks take effect from?

In the event of a no deal, the new marks would be required from the day the UK leaves the EU.

Size and dimension of the health marks

All marks must be legible and indelible. The health mark must be an oval mark at least 6.5 cm wide by 4.5 cm. It must contain either the UK or GB abbreviation or full country name UNITED KINGDOM, followed by the approval number of the establishment.

Letters must be at least 0.8 cm high and figures at least 1 cm high.

The dimensions and characters of the health mark may be reduced for health marking of lamb, kids and piglets.

Size and dimension of the identification marks

There is no minimum or maximum size for the identification mark. The mark must contain the UK or GB abbreviation, or full country name UNITED KINGDOM followed by the approval number of the establishment.

New health mark and document stamps

The new health marks and document stamps have already been delivered to FSA and DAERA operational inspection teams. Our inspection teams have been issued with this guidance and are fully briefed on which stamps should be used.