Food and Drink

The transition period has now ended and new rules for business and trade came into force on 1 January 2021.

Key facts: 

  • Food and drink trade with the EU will be subject to new rules after the transition period ends.
  • The new terms of access to the UK and EU markets, including checks on food products are being negotiated.
  •  UK certificates may not be valid automatically in the EU.

Examples include:

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

How we buy and sell products, and hire staff from the EU, will change after the transition period ends. 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.

People

  • EU nationals currently in the UK can apply for (pre-)settled status under the Settlement Scheme.
  • After the transition period ends, 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.

Trade

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

Regulation

  • Export of live animals, fresh or processed animal products such as honey, gelatine, lard, blood, meat, poultry, fish, crustaceans and dairy, will 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 nonanimal products such as fruit, vegetables, and plants used as food, may also experience additional legislation and sometimes checks.
  • Organic food and drink products will not be able to enter the EU as long as UK certificates are not valid in the EU.

To do

People

Trade

Regulation

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 live 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 EU exit and the food and drink sector.

What’s next?

Trade under EU rules will continue as normal until the transition period ends. A new trade agreement will lay down the final conditions for UK-EU trade in food and drink. This may include the validity of UK certificates.

Disclaimer At the time of writing, the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, and the changes outlined in this fact sheet will occur from 1 January 2021. If that date slips, the changes will still happen, but at a later date. For latest updates go to www.gov.uk/transition.

Related Resources

EU Post-Transition Business Resource Hub
Resource
LBH Content

EU Post-Transition Business Resource Hub

Support for firms to prepare for new rules for business and trade.

Employing UK Staff in the EU
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LBH Content

Employing UK Staff in the EU

Advice on employing UK nationals that work in the EU after the transition period.

Glossary of Brexit Terms
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LBH Content

Glossary of Brexit Terms

An overview of common terms to help you prepare for the end of the transition.