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EU Exit and Food Businesses

If your business deals in food, or animal feed, your responsibility to make sure it is safe, will continue from January 2021.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 says that, from the 1st January 2021, directly applicable EU legislation will be converted into UK law meaning that there won't initially be any changes to Food Hygiene legislation. Food hygiene inspections will continue as before, enforcing the same rules and procedures as currently exist.

Exporting from the UK

From the 1st January 2021 the rules on Exporting from the UK will change, especially with regard to exporting to the European Union and Northern Ireland as the UK will have 3rd Country status. This is a term that is used to describe those countries that are not in the European Union.

Exporters may be required to provide additional certification on their goods to satisfy the destination country. Businesses wishing to export products of animal origin to the EU will need to be on a list of businesses registered to do so. For food businesses this list is held by the Food Standards Agency and they should have already contacted you in this respect.

Exporting different groups of products of Animal Origin to the EU is primarily organised by DEFRA and the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA).

You should refer to the links below to see how the appropriate certificates can be acquired. These normally require the attendance of an Official Veterinarian (OV) to inspect the consignment prior to the issuing of documentation (Export Health Certificate EHC).

Where a formal APHA issued EHC is not required, Local Authority Export certificates can be supplied for certain products and where another country outside the EU will accept them. It is for the exporter to determine what the receiving country requires. The type of certification and the wording that needs to be provided is dependent on the product being exported and what the requirements are of the destination country. 

Help and Guidance

Guidance for Approved Premises.

Most food businesses only require a registration with their Local Authority, but there are some businesses, mostly manufacturers that produce or process Products of Animal Origin which are required to comply with more Regulations. These businesses are called Approved Premises and are given an Oval Identification mark or label which is required to be placed on the packaging of their products before they leave the premises. This is to provide additional traceability information.

From the 1st January 2021 there are new rules about what these Identification marks or labels must look like. Guidance on the use of these labels is available on the links below, but essentially any Approved Premises exporting from the UK to another country (including Northern Ireland) can no longer have the letters EU on their label. The different types of acceptable alternatives can also be seen on the links provided.

Approved Premises who use an Oval Identification Mark or Label but who do NOT export, may continue to use up their old stocks of labels bearing the letters EU for up to 12 months. The use of these labels is only sanctioned for use within the UK (but not for exporting to Northern Ireland). After 12 months they will not be permitted to continue using old labels and must no longer have the letters EU on their labels.

Further guidance on Transition and what happens from the 1st January 2021can be found on