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.
Worker testing deadline
Businesses can order free rapid lateral flow tests until 30 June 2021 for employees for either workplace or home testing. The government is keen for businesses to take a proactive role in encouraging
twice weekly testing of employees and registering the results with Test and Trace.
Workforce testing should be the primary route and should not be confused with the announcement of universal availability of rapid flow tests.
The government is reviewing requirements for worker testing following step 4 of the roadmap which comes into effect no earlier than 21 June.
New hospitality COVID-19 measures
With indoor hospitality set to re-open in England and Wales no earlier than 17 May, there are requirements on displaying new QR code posters for contact tracing.
Further guidance is provided here.
These measures are currently set to remain in place until 24 September. It is not clear yet whether this may be impacted by the results of the social distancing review which will be published prior to step 4 of the roadmap which comes into effect no earlier than 21 June.
See here for QR code posters in Scotland
Foodservice growth predictions
Foodservice is forecast to grow by 54% (£18.6bn) vs 2020 according to IGD’s latest Eating in vs Dining out research. The total food and drink industry is forecast to grow 12% in 2021, taking it to 97% of its 2019 pre-COVID level. Retail value is predicted to increase by £1.8bn compared to 2020. Retail Analysis subscribers can read the full report here.
New plastic bag levy
The government has announced parliamentary approval to proceed with the changes to the single-use carrier bag charge. This will mean an increase in the charge to 10p and an extension to all businesses. The new charge is expected to be introduced by mid to late May. The government will provide further details later this week, following the local elections.
UN Food Systems Summit – Input deadline
As part of the preparations for the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) in September, the government is seeking input from the food and consumer goods industry. This forms part of a national dialogue to engage with a wide range of stakeholders to gain their views on transforming the food system. The output from this national dialogue will feed into a pre-summit meeting in Italy in July.
Food business can share their views on what food systems transformation means for their organisation(s), what they are already doing to help transform the food system and share ideas on what additional improvements they think we can be made across the sectors. Submissions can be made up until 12 May.
EU ratifies UK-EU agreement
The European Parliament has now ratified The Trade and Co-operation Agreement. See here for further details.
The UK and EU are continuing to hold discussions concerning the movement of goods into Northern Ireland. Both sides are said to be working hard to find practical solutions to the issues raised.
Northern Ireland forum date
The first meeting of a new joint Defra – DAERA forum will take place on 13 May. This will bring together different parts of the agri-food chain into a single hub of engagement. It will focus on operational details of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Further details are expected soon.
Seafood and meat exports to the EU
A new report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee has raised concerns about 'considerable' non-tariff barriers resulting from the new GB-EU trading environment . The report calls on the government to seek agreement with the EU on digitising the certification of paperwork such as Export Health Certificates.
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:
- 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.
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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