IGD - Economics bulletin 26 March

Date : 26 March 2021

Your overview of political and economic news with a focus on the food and consumer goods industry, featuring the latest developments and guidance on COVID-19 and adapting to a new relationship with the EU.

New guidance relating to new Export Health Certificates (EHCs) for composite products containing products of animal origin (POAO) – update

New rules will come into effect on 21 April, introducing new EHCs for composite products being exported to the EU, as well as new documentation for composite products exempt from certification. 

Defra is expected to provide new guidance by the end of this week with further communication of these changes next week. The new EHCs will be available from 1 April and a series of webinars will begin on 5 April.

Specific concerns have been raised regarding the implications for composite products containing heat treated dairy products. Following discussions with the EU Commission, Defra is working with EU officials to develop a solution that will enable these products to be certified.

These new requirements relate to changes to EU law which apply from April 2021 that will impact on traders who export certain animals, germinal products and products of animal origin.

EHCs will need to be updated to reflect the new rules, but as part of transitionary arrangements, current EHCs can continue to be signed until 21 August. Therefore, Defra plan to introduce the remaining new EHCs for animal products and live animals, as they are needed, by August 2021.

The government has confirmed that authorised traders (supermarkets and their suppliers) will not need to complete EHCs and attestations resulting from these new rules when moving goods into Northern Ireland. Movement of goods will be covered by existing STAMNI requirements.

New groupage pilots

New pilots are planned to test a pallet-level sealant approach for the movement of mixed consignments of goods exported to the Republic of Ireland (groupage).

This follows the adoption of two groupage models for the movement of goods from GB to NI:

  • A linear model whereby each individual consignment is checked and sealed before the haulier moves onto the next location
  • A consolidation hub model whereby a range of products can be consolidated at a single approved establishment from which they may be certified onwards as a single unit

Defra is also exploring the potential of expanding the consolidation hub model to cover meat products.

See below for key dates relating to UK-EU transition and support for businesses

Deadline for registering for government procured COVID-19 tests

The government is encouraging all businesses to register for the government’s workplace testing scheme, ahead of the deadline on 31 March, in order to access free rapid lateral flow tests for employees until the end of June.

By registering businesses are not committing to testing and do not need to place an order. However, registration provides businesses with the opportunity to access government testing models as soon as they become available, allowing them to better assess and decide on what will be most appropriate for their business.

Following trials of institutional home testing the ‘home collect’ service is expected to be made more widely available to business in the food industry.

New consultations – deposit return scheme and extended producer responsibility for packaging

The government has launched two important consultations:

  • Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers – consumers will be incentivised to take their empty drinks containers to return points hosted by retailers

The consultations will be open for 10 weeks and will close on 4th June.

Key dates for UK-EU transition and support for businesses

Businesses trading with the EU should be prepared for the introduction of further border controls on the following dates:

  • 21 April – Regulation (EU) 2016/429 on transmissible animal diseases (the EU’s Animal Health Law) comes into effect, introducing new EHCs for composite goods containing products of animal origin (POAO) as an ingredient, as well as new documentation for composite products exempt from certification. 
  • 30 June – The grace period for sending certain Prohibited & Restricted goods (P&Rs) from GB to NI ends.
  • 21 August – New model of EHCs is required for POAO exported to the EU, following the end of the transitionary arrangements allowing the use of current EHCs
  • 1 October – POAO and all regulated plants and plant products will require pre-notification and health documentation to be imported into the UK.
  • 1 October – End of the grace period for supermarkets and their suppliers moving goods into Northern Ireland. The start of a phased introduction of the Export Health Certificates for POAO exported to Northern Ireland from GB.
  • 1 January 2022 - Safety and Security Declarations for imports required. Physical checks required at Border Control Posts (BCPs) for POAO and certain animal by-products, and High Risk Food Not Of Animal Origin. Physical SPS checks of high risk plants also to take place at BCPs. Pre-notification requirements and documentary checks required for low risk plants and plant products.
  • Complete customs declarations for imports to the UK will be required. Importers may no longer defer making declarations. Tariffs will become payable at the moment of import.
  • 1 March 2022 – Physical checks at BCPs for live animals and low risk plants and plant products.

The UK government has issued guidance specifically for food and drink businesses.

Register here for upcoming webinars on trading with the EU.

Register here for Defra webinars on Importing Products of Animal Origin (POAO) from the European Union into Great Britain.

IGD has also provided additional support to help businesses with EU Exit. Businesses may also wish to refer to the EU EXIT Foodhub, an FAQ website for food and drink businesses

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