Agri-Food Businesses & Brexit: What You Need To Know

7 September 2019

The UK will be leaving the EU on 31st October. It’s important that Agri-Food businesses are aware of and understand what changes could affect the day-to-day running of business operations. GOV.UK provides guidance to ensure that they are prepared for EU Exit.

Specific guidance for the food and drink sector is available here, including advice for importers and exporters of animal products, and advice about food labelling, tariffs, data protection and more. It also includes advice for employers.

The information below highlights new guidance from this week.


  1. Immigration arrangements for EU citizens arriving after the 31st October (published 5th September)

You may have seen on Wednesday that the Government announced the immigration arrangements that will apply to EU citizens and their family members who are moving to the UK after Brexit on 31 October 2019, in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The news story is available here.

Further information can be found in the Policy Paper, which is available on GOV.UK here.

The GOV.UK guidance for employers on right to work checks after Brexit has now been updated to reflect the new Euro Temporary Leave to Remain arrangements here.


  1. Exporting goods to the EU and beyond: Process maps (published 6th September) 

To help you understand what you need to do to carry on exporting if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, a series of process maps are being prepared. Each map will set out the key steps that you need to follow in order to ensure your export goes successfully. The first map will be published on GOV.UK shortly, but a PDF can be viewed here for your reference.


  1. French customs guidance

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, customs formalities and controls at the border between France and the UK will be reinstated for goods. Both imports and exports will be subjected to two customs declarations, one to British Customs and one to French Customs. Details of the guidance issued by the French authorities can be found here.


  1. Food labelling

The food labelling awareness campaign has relaunched to remind businesses to make changes to their product labels to be ready for Brexit. Visit @DefraGovUK on twitter to watch and retweet a video message from our Head of Labelling policy. Guidance about food labelling changes can be found here.

In summary:

  • The EU emblem must not be used on goods produced in the UK unless a company has been authorised by the EU to do so.
  • If you are a domestic producer: It will be inaccurate to label UK food as origin ‘EU’. For the UK market additional information such as signage in shops and online information can help clarify to the consumer the origin of the food.
  • If you are exporting to the EU: 
  • You must include an EU address for the food business operator (FBO) or EU importer on pre-packed food.
  • Health and ID mark prefixes used to label UK products of animal origin must carry either: the official two-digit ISO Code (‘GB’) or the full country name in capital letters (‘UNITED KINGDOM’).
  • It will be inaccurate to label UK food as origin ‘EU’.
  • If you are importing from the EU: You must include a UK address for the food business operator (FBO) or UK importer on pre-packed food sold in the UK. The UK government is aiming to give businesses until December 2020 to make this change.

  1. The way we trade with the EU and other countries

The UK benefits from trade agreements with other countries through membership of the EU. When we leave the EU some of these agreements won’t apply.

Be ready and prepare your business with these steps:

  1. Check GOV.UK to see if the countries you trade with are affected here (updated 22 August)
  2. See if tariffs will apply to the goods you import into the UK here (updated 20 March)
  3. See if your international customers will have to pay tariffs on the products you are exporting to them here (published 30 April)

  1. Comply with new data requirements

When the UK leaves, certain data requirements will change for organisations which operate within the EU. Further information on these changes can be found here:


For the most up-to-date guidance, please continue to check GOV.UK. As a reminder, there are still changes that will affect:


< Back to News