The UK has left the EU, and the transition period ends on 31 December 2020 which means we will also leave the Single Market and Customs Union. 

From 1 January 2021 a number of requirements will be different from an environmental health perspective mainly food safety.

Below is some information and helpful additional sources of information to help prepare for the end of the EU transition period. 

Transition of EU legislation into UK/Scottish law from 1 January 2021

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) are working with Scottish Ministers and others across the UK, to ensure that whatever happens, there will continue to be effective food and feed laws in place across Scotland. The essential elements of all the current EU law will be kept and the necessary changes will be made to reflect the fact that the UK will no longer be part of the EU.

·       Read more about food and feed law after the end of the transition period.

Importing and Exporting

From 1 January 2021 the process for importing and exporting goods to and from the EU will change.  The UK Government website has guidance which outlines action businesses may need to take:

·       Exporting live animals or animal products

·       Exporting groups of POAO to the EU

·       Guide to importing and exporting goods to the EU

Scottish Government’s EU exit food and drink sector update also has further information to help businesses prepare for the end of the transition period.

You can register to view webinars for exporters of animals and products of animal origin to the EU. Previous webinars are available on YouTube:

·       Export Health Certificates

·       Exporting Products of Animal Origin from Great Britain to the EU

·       Exporting Fish and Fishery Products for Human Consumption from Great Britain to the EU

FSS have been working to make sure we have access to new systems such as the UK’s Imports, Products, Animals, Food, and Feed System (IPAFFS) which replaces the EU TRACES system. In addition, FSS are advising Scottish Ministers on new and existing Border Control Posts (BCP’s).

Export Health Certificates 

From 1 January 2021 businesses will be an EHC to export live animals and animal products to the EU and to move live animals and animal products to Northern Ireland.

EHC’s will be required for all export consignments from Scotland to the EU which contain either Products of Animal Origin (POAO) or Composite Products.

An EHC is an official document confirming consignment information, and attesting that the consignment complies with EU health standards and regulations so that your product(s) can be successfully exported from Scotland to the EU. Without this businesses cannot trade with the EU.

Businesses can apply for EHCs for export from Scotland to the EU using the online service.

Defra has published guidance on Export Health Certification for POAO away from the premises of origin.

Health and ID marks

There will be changes to health and ID mark requirements for POAO produced in the UK and placed on the market in Great Britain and Northern Ireland or exported outside of the UK.  

·       Read FSS guidance about the changes to health and ID marks, including sizing and dimensions.

Registration and Inspection of Fishing Vessels

Legal action is required by fishing vessels owners in Scotland ahead of EU Exit to register their fishing vessels as food businesses, and be inspected by the relevant local authority to enable catch to be exported.

If vessel owners fail to meet this legal requirement by 31 December 2020, their catch will not be permitted for export to the EU from 1 January 2021.

Owners of fishing vessels who intend to export their catch, either directly or indirectly, to any EU Member State after 31 December 2020, must contact their Local Authority (LA) Environmental Health Department to register as a food business with them, and make arrangements to have your vessel/s inspected by LA officers. This letter to all fishing vessel owners in Scotland explains further.

·       Local Authority contact details

Read more about the requirements.

Scottish Government’s EU Exit seafood sector guidance page has more information on preparations for the end of the transition period.

Further advice

Please see the following links for further information. 

PrepareforBrexit.Scot – Brexit planning for businesses in Scotland- this tool helps businesses identify what they can do to prepare their company for business following the end of EU transition period.

MyGov.Scot – Information and guidance to help prepare for EU exit.