Brexit: agriculture, fisheries and foodstuffs

This information is provided by

Brexitloket | Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, NVWA

Do you export or import foodstuffs, vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, or live animals? Since 1 January 2021, you have to deal with certificates and permits, checks and customs formalities. You have to face longer waiting times at the border and higher transport costs.

The Border operating model

The UK has drawn up its own new rules that are described in the Border operating model, BOM. This is separate from the trade agreement reached by the EU and the UK. It describes new rules to specific groups of products, including foodstuffs, vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, and live animals. The new rules will come into effect in different phases on 1 October 2021, 1 January 2022 and 1 March 2022. Read more.

Set out your route

Make sure you plan your transport well ahead and map out the route. Not all ports perform inspections.

Plants and plant products

Do you want to export plant products to the UK? You have to deal with phytosanitary export certificates and government checks. Also, different rules apply for products, product labelling or product packaging when exporting to a non-EU country.

Importing live animals and animal products

The following information applies to the import of:

  • live animals and live products (semen, embryos and hatching eggs)
  • products of animal origin (meat, fish, dairy, eggs and animal by-products)
  • animal feed
  • hay and straw. Read more about hay and straw (in Dutch)
For importers in the Netherlands 3 things change:

1. Certify: the exporter must have the cargo certified

Every import shipment must be accompanied by health certificates. These are issued by the official regulator in the United Kingdom. The exporter in the UK applies for the health certificates.

2. Pre-notification: the import shipment must be pre-notified

Import from the UK must be pre-notified with a designated border control post in the UK. This can done by the exporter, the importer or a customs agent. For more information, please contact the trade association FENEX (in Dutch).

3. Import inspection: the NVWA carries out an import inspection

If you import animals or animal products, they must enter the EU through an approved Border Control Post (BCP). NVWA will check the animals(products) and necessary documents upon arrival. They do this in cooperation with Dutch Customs. They also check whether the goods are suitable for the purpose for which they are imported. For example, is the product suitable for consumption? Samples can also be taken here. The physical check may only take place at a BCP.
Read more about importing live animals and animal products (in Dutch)

5 things to do when exporting: foodstuffs and agriculture

It has become harder to export foodstuffs and agricultural products to the United Kingdom. Agricultural products, vegetables, fruit, meat and live animals need to have an export certificate, among other things. If you do not have experience with trading outside the EU, start preparing well ahead.

Q&A about the TCA

There is an extensive Q&A about the Brexit Trade Agreement available on the website of the European Commission. It explains what the new rules mean for different sectors, such as trade in goods, fisheries and road transport. There are nine chapters in total and you can search per sector. At the top you can choose your language. You can find answers to questions such as: What was agreed to facilitate trade in automotive? How does the Agreement contribute to trade and sustainable development? Will air carriers still have the same rights to operate between and within the EU and the UK? Note that this Q&A was published in December 2020 and therefore speaks of a draft agreement.

Agricultural inspection and certifying authorities

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Sector organisations

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Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, NVWA

This information is provided by

Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, NVWA