Background Information

The UK’s exit from the EU is being planned on a contingency basis. In relation to food safety matters, the EU has recently communicated with its’ stakeholders via a number of technical notices, which describe the potential effect of EU exit by sector, should the UK be considered a “3rd country” in future in a “no deal” scenario. We have seen the first of these notices published.

The technical notices set out, for the remaining EU 27 member states, the conditions under which products of animal origin (POAO) may be imported into the EU from the UK, including that:

  • The food establishment in the UK from which food is dispatched is “listed” by the European Commission for public health purposes.
  • All imported food satisfies the requirements detailed in EU food hygiene legislation.

The technical notices place the burden on the importing EU food business operators to ensure the conditions are met.

In addition, the technical notices make it clear that the UK will lose its’ flexibility to apply “national measures” to achieve the EU’s food hygiene standards.

The technical notices further explain that, as of the UK’s withdrawal date, imported food from the UK will be subject to mandatory border checks at the first point of entry into EU territory.

Specifically that:

  • POAO can only enter the EU 27 via an approved border inspection post
  • Each consignment will undergo documentary and identity checks, as well physical checks at an appropriate frequency.
  • Each consignment must be accompanied by a certificate indicating its compliance with EU food legislation
  • As of the UK’s withdrawal date, no UK food establishment can use the “EC” abbreviation on either the health or identification mark, and should instead use either the name of the country, or the 2 letter ISO country code.

FSS is in the process of considering those procedures that may be affected by this requirement as part of contingency planning, and in so doing would welcome any relevant information from food businesses currently exporting POAO to the EU, or FBOs that might wish to do so in future.

FSS are also seeking information on the impact of proposed changes to the EU Health and Identification mark after the UK exits the EU.

POAO cannot be placed on the market unless they are produced at an approved establishment and provided with an approved Health or Identification Mark (the oval mark).

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