EU Exit (Brexit)

Guidance for business and industry

The UK Transition

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period ends on 31st December 2020. If your business deals in food, or animal feed, your responsibility to make sure it is safe will continue from January 2021.

Leaving the EU hasn’t changed our primary focus  - we’re still protecting the interests of consumers in Scotland in relation to food and drink. Everything we do is aimed at making sure food is safe, it is what it says it is on the label, and in helping consumers make healthier food choices.  We will carry on focusing on these aims.

During the transition period, businesses will be able to trade with the EU on the same terms as before.

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

FSS is 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.

Current requirements

The current requirements below are for food businesses in Scotland. As requirements change, the guidance on these pages will be updated.

What's happening between now and the end of 2020

We are working hard with UK Government, Scottish Government and Local Authorities to keep industry and stakeholders up to date and ready for EU Exit.

Part of this work is to ensure FSS has access to new systems such as the UK’s Imports, Products, Animals, Food, Feed System (IPAFFS) which replaces the EU TRACES system. In addition we are advising Scottish ministers on new and existing Border Control Posts (BCP’s).

Importing and Exporting

From 1 January 2021 the process for importing and exporting goods to and from the EU will change. It’s important that you’re aware of the preparations you may need to take.  Read Scottish Government’s EU exit food and drink sector update to help you prepare for the end of the transition period.

For more information, you can register to view webinars for exporters of animals and products of animal origin to the EU. Previous webinars are available on YouTube:

Urgent Requirement: 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.

If you intend to export your catch, either directly or indirectly, to any EU Member State at the end of the ‘Transition Period’, set for 31 December 2020, you must contact your Local Authority (LA) Environmental Health Department by 3 December 2020 to register as a food business with them, and make arrangements to have your vessel/s inspected by LA officers. Here is a letter to all fishing vessel owners in Scotland explaining further.

It should be recognised the responsibility to register with, and have your vessel inspected by the relevant LA, rests with food business owners, so contact them as soon as possible.

Scottish Government’s EU Exit seafood sector guidance page has more information on preparations for the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

From 1 January 2021

Export Health Certificates

From 1 January 2021, you’ll need to apply for an EHC, a document confirming certain information, health standards and regulations have been met so that your product(s) can be exported from Scotland to the EU.

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

More information from Scottish Government on what rules you’ll need to follow.

Products of animal origin

Products of animal origin (POAO) going from the UK to the EU at the end of the transition period will need to have export documentation, and this includes products going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. As a result, FSS will resource and deliver the EHC function needed at “logistics hubs” in an attempt to ensure trade from Scotland to the EU continues without undue delay.

Food and animal feed safety risk analysis from January 2021

Risk analysis is the process by which we assess, manage and communicate food and animal feed safety risks. It will ensure Scotland continues to enjoy high standards of food and feed safety and consumer protection.

Regulated products authorisation

Regulated products and processes are those food and feed products and processes that currently require authorisation by the European Commission (EC) following a risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

From 1st January 2021, in the UK, Food Standards Scotland and the Food Standards Agency will take over responsibility for carrying out the risk assessment and providing advice to Ministers, who will decide if an authorisation is appropriate.

Regulated products include:

  • extraction solvents
  • feed additives
  • feed for particular nutritional uses (PARNUTS)
  • feed (detoxification processes)
  • flavourings
  • food contact materials (active/intelligent materials)
  • food contact materials (plastic additives)
  • food contact materials (recycled processes)
  • food additives
  • food enzymes
  • genetically modified organisms as food and feed
  • irradiated food
  • novel foods (full application)
  • novel foods (traditional food notification)
  • smoke flavourings

Nutrition and health claims

There is an authorisation process for nutrition and health claims and, working with the other administrations, Scotland will take on responsibility for a function currently carried out at EU level.

FSS Board meeting papers

EU Citizens

Food Standards Scotland welcomes the valuable contribution our friends and colleagues who are EU citizens make, and we would encourage any EU Citizens who have not yet done so to apply to the EU Settlement scheme.

Other sources of information

Information from Scottish Government

Information from Scottish Government

Get information on the UK's possible exit from the European Union (Brexit) and how it may affect people and businesses in Scotland. 

Information from Scotland’s Enterprise & Skills Agencies

Information from Scotland’s Enterprise & Skills Agencies

Brexit planning for businesses in Scotland. This includes a tool to identify what you can do now to prepare your company for business post-Brexit and a bite-sized guide to help make sure your business is prepared for Brexit.