Post EU Exit

Changes to the regulatory and business environment.

Last updated September 2023

We are committed to making sure that high regulatory standards are maintained now that the UK is no longer part of the EU. 

The key differences for food and feed businesses relate to:

  • how products are traded across borders
  • authorisation processes for regulated products

Changes to domestic law and common frameworks

Important information

This page will be updated shortly in light of the Retained EU Law  (Reform and Revocation) Act 2023 which makes significant changes to the status of 'retained EU law' from the end of 2023.

The vast majority of EU derived food and feed standards in law continue to apply in Scotland. For example, the precautionary principle continues to be enshrined in UK general food law (Regulation (EC)178/2002) as does detailed EU derived requirements for food and feed hygiene and safety.

Our Board agreed a number of principles in December 2022 to inform any potential changes to food law. The agreed principles are:

  • consumer protection will continue to be paramount when considering any change to legislation  
  • stakeholder views should be sought and taken into account before any recommendations to amend legislation are made
  • we should not make changes which are likely to reduce consumer or trading partner confidence in UK food
  • we will support changes that support business in line with better regulation principles, as part of the normal review of law 

These principles were agreed following concerns that the UK Government intended to remove large parts of retained EU law from the statute book at the end of 2023. Whilst that is no longer the case, they follow the general principles of good policy making that will apply to any revision of food law in future.

We also remain committed to working with partners across the UK to agree to policy change in line with common framework agreements. These are essentially 'ways of working' agreements that support a four country approach to policy development whilst also respecting devolution.

Nutrition Labelling Composition and Standards Provisional Common Framework command paper on GOV.UK

Food compositional standards and labelling: provisional common framework command paper

Food and feed safety and hygiene: provisional common framework on GOV.UK

Importing and exporting

FSS is responsible for policy in relation to the import of high risk food and feed of non animal origin into Scotland, and, alongside the Food Standards Agency, takes a risk based approach to the controls to be applied in relation to these products. This suite of controls falls within a wider imports framework which has changed significantly now that the UK is no longer an EU member state. 

The UK Government published its Border Target Operating Model in August 2023 and this sets out a phased approach to the introduction of wider import controls from 2024.

For information in relation to exports, the UK Government has produced the following step by step guide to exporting goods from the UK.

A new set of arrangements have been agreed as part of the Windsor Framework for the movement of food and certain other goods from GB into Northern Ireland. The Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland has detailed EU exit guidance for businesses

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 makes sure that Scotland continues to maintain high standards of food and feed safety and consumer protection. 

Find out more about the risk analysis process.

Regulated products authorisation

Regulated products and processes are those food and feed products and processes that until 31 December 2020 required authorisation by the European Commission (EC) following a risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Food Standards Scotland and the Food Standards Agency now have responsibility for ensuring a risk assessment is undertaken and providing risk management recommendations to ministers, who then decide whether an authorisation is appropriate. Risk assessment is undertaken based on expert advice from independent technical experts / Scientific Advisory Committees/joint expert groups on a UK-wide basis.

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

Read more about the UK authorisation process.

Nutrition and health claims

An authorisation process is required for new nutrition and health claims and, working with the other administrations, Scotland has taken on responsibility this function which was previously carried out at EU level. 

Find out more about the authorisation process.

Other sources of information

Contact DEFRA to enquire about export guidance.

Contact APHA to enquire about export health certificates.

More information about imported food and feed.

UK Government

Information from the UK Government about Brexit.

In this section

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International Trade

The change in international trading relationships has consequences for businesses and regulators.