Food and Drink

Key facts: 

  • Food and drink trade with the EU is subject to new rules following the end of the transition period.

Examples include:

Supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, market traders, hotels, wholesalers, canteens.

How we buy and sell products, and hire staff from the EU changed after the transition period ended. Businesses are advised to consider their route to market and look at what it means for their margins when they export and import to and from European countries on different terms, and when costs of recruitment will rise.


  • EU nationals currently in the UK can apply for (pre-)settled status under the Settlement Scheme.
  • Since 1 January 2021, EU staff that come to the UK to work will need to apply under the points-based immigration system, and businesses have to sponsor applicants they want to recruit.


  • Import and export of food products are subject to customs controls and may attract tariffs.
  • Importers and exporters have to demonstrate compliance with food safety rules at the border.


  • Export of live animals, fresh or processed animal products such as honey, gelatine, lard, blood, meat, poultry, fish, crustaceans and dairy, require an Export Health Certificate (EHC). These products will need to pass through checks at dedicated Border Inspection Posts (BIPs). However, this is not the case for small consignments sent by post to individual consumers.
  • Import and export of fresh or processed non-animal products such as fruit, vegetables, and plants used as food, may also experience additional legislation and sometimes checks.

To do




Employing and managing staff

Useful resources to help businesses understand the implications of leaving the EU on employing and managing staff include:

  • Home Office guidance for EU, EEA and Swiss frontier workers who want to continue working in the UK
  • The EU Settlement Scheme enables EU,EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who lived in the UK before the end of the transition period to continue to live, work and study in the UK.

Go to the Government’s checker tool and the EU Readiness Notices for more information on the impact of EU exit and the food and drink sector.

What’s next?

The EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement lays down the final conditions for UK-EU trade in food and drink.

Related Resources