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In this page: Packaging and labelling regulation in the United Kingdom | Commercial and industrial norms in the United Kingdom

 

Packaging and labelling regulation in the United Kingdom

Packaging
It must conform to European legislation on the prevention of health risks to consumers and the protection of the environment, especially as regards waste treatment. Packaging in wood or vegetable matter must be subjected to a phytosanitary inspection. For further information, consult the summary of the European legislation on this topic.
Starting January 31st 2020, the date of the UK's departure from the EU, the UK will no more incorporate new EU legislation into its national regulation. For the detail on possible future changes regarding certificates, authorisations, markings or labelling taking effect from 1 January 2021 following the UK's withdrawal from the EU and the end of the transition period please consult the European Commission's ‘BREXIT READINESS CHECKLIST’ FOR COMPANIES DOING BUSINESS WITH THE UK.
Languages Permitted on Packaging and Labeling
The use of language on labels has been the subject of a Commission Communication, which encourages multilingual information, while preserving the right of member states to require the use of the language of the country of consumption. Thus the use of a foreign language is allowed, as long as an English translation is provided.
Unit of Measurement
All labels require metric units although dual labelling is also acceptable. The EU has also mandated that certain products be sold in standardized quantities. Starting January 31st 2020, the date of the UK's departure from the EU, the UK will no more incorporate new EU legislation into its national regulation.
Mark of Origin "Made In"
In the UK, it is compulsory to indicate the origin of a product.
Labeling Requirements
Origin, weight and dimension, chemical composition and appropriate hazard warnings are required for consumer protection purposes on any product offered for retail sale. If the product cannot be labeled or marked, the data may be included on any packaging, accompanying printed material, or product literature. European and British clothing and shoe sizes are differently marked, and special provision may have to be made for apparel retail labelling. Dual labelling is strongly supported by the UK .
Specific Regulations
Council Directive 80/232/EC provides permissible ranges of nominal quantities, container capacities and volumes for a variety of products such as certain foodstuffs, cleaning products, pet foods, solvents and cosmetics. Starting January 31st 2020, the date of the UK's departure from the EU, the UK will no more incorporate new EU legislation into its national regulation. Starting January 31st 2020, the date of the UK's departure from the EU, the UK will no more incorporate new EU legislation into its national regulation. For the detail on possible future changes regarding certificates, authorisations, markings or labelling taking effect from 1 January 2021 following the UK's withdrawal from the EU and the end of the transition period please consult the European Commission's ‘BREXIT READINESS CHECKLIST’ FOR COMPANIES DOING BUSINESS WITH THE UK.

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Commercial and industrial norms in the United Kingdom

National Standards Organisations
BSI Group, British Standards Institution
Integration in the International Standards Network
The UK is a member of the International Organisation for Standardisation and a full member of the International Electrotechnical Commission. It is also a member state of the International Telecommunication Union.
All EU standards remain in place until 31 December 2020, the date by which ends the transition period for the negotiation of a possible new trade arrangement between the UK and the EU. For the detail on possible future changes regarding certificates, authorisations, markings or labelling which take effect from 1 January 2021 following the UK's withdrawal from the EU and the end of the transition period please consult the European Commission's ‘BREXIT READINESS CHECKLIST’ FOR COMPANIES DOING BUSINESS WITH THE UK.
The UK continues therefore to be a member of the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC), European Telcommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), European Committee for Standardisation (ECS), until the 31 December 2020, and remains to be seen whether the country continues its membership beyond that date.
Obligation to Use Standards
Most standards are voluntary although they can be made mandatory by law or regulation. Products are subject to the European Union's legislation (General product safety Directive, technical legislation) as well as to the national UK legislation.
Classification of Standards
There are over 27,000 British Standards in use and 2,000 are produced annually. CE is the European certification mark. It is compulsory for a country to be able to sell on the market. (Subject to change following the UK's withdrawal from the EU on the 31 December 2020).
Assessment of the System of Standardization
By complying with British Standards, suppliers demonstrate that their products or services are safe and fit for purpose. Customers look for the independent verification that technical standards provide. Certification marks earned by businesses whose products and practices consistently stand up to rigorous examination are instantly recognizable and act as respected badges of quality, safety and performance.
Online Consultation of Standards
The BSI Shop offers a full catalogue of standards and publications, many of which are available as PDF downloads; on-line catalog of European Standards; ISO catalog; IEC catalog.
Certification Organisations
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service. Follow this link for a list of accreditation standards
Associations of Standards Users
BSS is the UK member of the International Federation of Standard Users (IFAN).

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Latest Update: June 2022