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    Scottish minister says no ‘real evidence’ for extending ‘Not for EU’ food labelling proposals

    Product with ‘Not for EU’ label at an Asda supermarket in Northern Ireland (Photo: @JP_Biz/X)

    Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon has raised concerns about the proposed rollout of ‘Not for EU’ labelling on food and drink products across the whole of the UK from October.

    A ‘Not for EU’ label means that a product has entered Northern Ireland under the simplified trade rules of the Windsor Framework. The product has not been subject to full EU controls and is only intended to be placed on the market in NI for final consumers.

    Gougeon said the move proposed by the UK government would amount to “arbitrarily adding costs to businesses” at a time when consumers are already facing a cost of living crisis.

    In a letter to Steve Barclay, the UK environment, food and rural affairs secretary, Gougeon has sought further clarification given “the information that has been provided to us so far is limited and does not currently represent a convincing argument or provide any real evidence… why this blanket measure is considered a proportionate approach.”

    Noting that the food labelling is a devolved matter, she said the policy decision on whether to place this additional burden on Scottish businesses should rest with the Scottish ministers.

    “On the face of it, your proposals would impact a large number of businesses in Scotland who do not sell goods to Northern Ireland but would be required to change their labelling, or who sell into Europe and would be required to set up separate labelling streams,” she said in the letter.

    “I do not support this GB-wide labelling proposal as it stands, and I am not persuaded on the information provided so far that there is a case to introduce it in Scotland. I look forward to meeting with you and discussing this issue in due course,” she added.

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