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brexit updates for uk food and drink exporters

We have been keeping members informed about the essential steps they need to take to plan for trading from 1 January and posting links to relevant Government guidance and actions needed.

We welcomed the news of the deal with the EU and resulting lack of tariffs. There are some areas of detail which may not have been immediately obvious and which we continue to be asked about by our members.  We will continue to use this page for useful updates.

Please also bookmark the EU EXIT FOOD HUB website. This was been developed to assist food and drink businesses in partnership with other organisations to pool together information relevant to food and drink exporters.

Rules of Origin

To benefit from free trade, goods will have to be of UK or EU origin.  This means they must meet the UK-EU preferential rules of origin based on where the products or ingredients used in their production come from. 

Goods that do not meet the rules of origin can still be traded but they will not be able to benefit from preference under the TCA and may have to pay the standard (“Most Favoured Nation”) tariffs that the EU and UK apply to imports

Read more at  - 

Find out the rules by product (see page 423) - EU:UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement
Prescribed text to add to Commercial Invoice (see page 479) - click here to view template

The Rules of Origin Self Assessment tool (ROSA), is a free interactive tool developed by the European Commission which allows exporters using EU trade agreements to learn about preferential rules of origin and assess if your product qualifies for the tariff preferences that trade agreements offer. To use the tool, enter your product code, your country and the final export destination into My Trade Assistant on the European Commission's Access2Markets portal (, then click through to rules of origin where you will be guided through the interactive self-assessment.

Using a Suppliers Declaration to Prove Origin -  Declaration for UK suppliers to provide information needed to prove the origin of goods for preferential rates of duty between the UK and other countries.

Help is at hand.  Several of our Export Service provider members have services relevant to the new requirements.  Please contact them direct if you have any questions relating to their area of expertise.

For help with certification for exporting Products of Animal Origin to the EU
Amivet Exports Ltd -   ;  Mount Vets – 

For help with indirect tax, customs and obtaining Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) accreditation: SKS GB- Contact SKS via their website. Any query will be responded to within 24 hours.

For assistance with new EU labelling requirements: Ashbury -   Email:

Guidance from the European Commission on goods on the market

The European Commission published the following guidance: EC guidance on goods on the market. This addresses various aspects of EU Food law after exit, including clarification on their interpretation of goods placed on the market: 

“If an individual food product was placed on the EU-27 market before the withdrawal date, i.e. it has been (a) held in the EU27 for the purpose of sale, including offering for sale or any other form of transfer, whether free of charge or not; or (b) sold, distributed, of transferred by other forms to the EU27, this “stock” of food can continue to be sold, distributed or transferred in the EU27 as of the withdrawal date without the need for labelling changes”

Exporting to the EU from 1 January 2021:

Essential Steps:

Get an EORI number

A UK issued Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number is essential for UK businesses that wish to import or export goods with the EU after the UK leaves the EU.
  Apply for an EORI number and you should receive it within 2-3 working days.

Check your commodity/tariff codes

Commodity codes are used to ensure goods have the correct tariff classification. Using the wrong codes for your products in customs declarations risks paying the wrong tariff, costly delays at the border or even goods being blocked entry into the EU.

 Know what certificates your products need

To ensure your product can enter the EU, it will need to be able to pass EU regulatory checks for third country goods. Products of animal origin will be subject to additional requirements.
Products of animal origin will need an Export Health Certificate and must enter the EU via a Border Inspection Post (BIP). Most fish products will need a catch certificate.

Find a professional to certify export health certificates - click here to view a list of organisations in England, Scotland and Wales that inspect and certify animals and animal products for export.

Check your product labelling - Food Business Operator Address

  • Exported products must be labelled correctly to reflect the UK's third country status. UK products can no longer use 'EU' in country of origin labelling while products marketed as organic may face EU export restrictions until the UK becomes an approved third country.
  • An EU importer/Food Business Operator address is required on product labels- Check the EU Market Access site which lists the full requirements (Article 8 for summary of FBO responsibilities) - click here
  • Products of animal origin must include the new UK health and ID mark.

Decide if you will use a customs agent

Most businesses use a customs broker, agent, or freight forwarder to make customs declarations for them. This can make exporting simpler and faster.
Alternatively, you can make declarations yourself by obtaining approved software.

Food & Drink Exporters Association
PO Box 117
Hebden Bridge
West Yorkshire
HX7  9AY

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