On 31 December 2020, the withdrawal agreement officially terminated, i. e the United Kingdom (UK) withdrew from the single market of the European Union (EU) and from the Customs Union. The free movement of goods and services between the countries has stopped automatically, therefore, knowledge of the major changes related to export of food and veterinary medicinal products, transportation of animals and rules for travelling with pets is very important.
Food labelling requirements
Normally, uniform food labelling rules apply to any foods placed on the EU market regardless of the place of production. However, any foods exported from the EU to the UK will have to comply with UK rules and standards instead of those applicable in the EU, they will be subject to compliance checks and commodity control procedures laid down by UK legal acts. Therefore, in certain cases, food producers may need to change their food labelling in view of UK requirements.
Examples of such requirements: mandatory indication of the country of origin of food, name and address of the importer of food established in an EU Member State, mandatory health or identification marks with the indication of the mane of the country where the business is established (i. e. the full name or the two-letter ISO code) instead of the abbreviation EB, which is normally indicated, and the veterinary approval number of the business.
Producers, which might wish to continue trading with the UK, will also need to assess other mandatory food labelling aspects. For example, those who wish to export wine, eggs or day-old chicks to the UK will need to indicate on the labelling both the farming method applied and the compliance with requirements of relevant commercial standards.
More details on additional labelling requirements are available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/food-standards-labelling-durability-and-composition.
Export of products of animal and non-animal origin
Establishments seeking to export to Great Britain must be enlisted as the establishments approved for export to Great Britain.
1. From 1st of January to 31st of March 2021: export veterinary certificates will be issued only for live animals, animal semen, ova and embryos as well as for animal origin foods, which are subject to safeguard measures in relation to contagious diseases (e. g. avian flu).
Furthermore, as from 1st of January 2021, IPAFFS (Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System) has been launched in the UK, with the help of which importers will inform the UK competent authority of food consignments to be imported and unique UNN codes will be assigned to them. The UNN codes will need to be indicated only on the above-mentioned accompanying documents for animals and products therefrom.
From 1st January to 30th of September 2021, the requirement for issuing veterinary certificates for products of animal origin shall not apply (except for products of animal origin subjected to safeguard measures), export will be carried out without any additional requirements or changes, in accordance with the procedures, which were applied before the exit of the UK from the EU.
2. As from 1st of October 2021, the requirement that food consignments have to be accompanied by export veterinary certificates shall apply to all products of animal origin.
As from 1st of October 2021 importers must notify UK competent authorities through IPAFFS about high-risk food and feed of non-animal origin arriving to GB.
3. As from 1st of January 2022, any products of animal origin will have to be accompanied by veterinary certificates, they will have to enter the UK through border inspection posts, and documentary, identity and physical checks will be performed.
As from 1st of January 2022 importers must notify UK competent authorities through IPAFFS (24 hours before the arrival) about high-risk food and feed of non-animal origin arriving to GB, also, consignments will have to enter the UK through border inspection posts, and documentary, identity and physical checks will be performed.
4. As from 1st of March 2022 border inspection posts will start conducting inspections on live animals arriving to UK with commercial purposes.
Entry of animals, animal origin food, germinal products, animal by-products, hay and straw and composite food products (i.e., containing plant origin and treated animal origin products) from the United Kingdom into the EU territory.
From 1 January 2021, to ensure food safety, animal health and welfare and to safeguard the EU sanitary condition, live animals, animal origin food, germinal products, animal by-products, hay and straw, and composite food products, which are brought from Great Britain, will be subject to mandatory controls at border inspection posts of entry into the EU. Goods to be imported or transported in transit will have to be in compliance with animal and public health requirements, each consignment of goods will have to be accompanied by an original veterinary certificate of an adequate form issued by the competent authority of Great Britain.
The entry of any animals, animal origin food, germinal products, animal by-products, hay and straw, and composite food products from Great Britain into the EU territory will take place in accordance with a procedure similar to the procedure applicable for other third countries.
For goods transported in transit from Great Britain through the EU territory to other third countries or from other third countries to Great Britain relevant requirements for goods in transit will apply.
EU legal acts regulating the entry of different animals and animal origin foods into the EU were amended accordingly by including Great Britain and published in the EU Official Journal of 28 December 2020: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/LT/TXT/?uri=OJ%3AL%3A2020%3A438%3ATOC.
The list of British establishments engaged in production of animal origin products, which are allowed to be imported, will be published on the web site of the European Commission and placed in the TRACES system in the near future.
Transportation of pets for non-commercial purposes
Requirements for pets entering the UK from the EU will not change from 1 January 2021. When a person returns with his pet to the UK one of the following documents is required:
• EU pet passport (issued by the EU or the UK before 1 January 2021);
• Animal health certificate issued by the UK and intended for entry into the EU (it is valid for 4 months);
• UK pet health certificate (valid only for entry into the UK).
The above documents are not required if one arrives from: North Ireland, Guernsey and Jersey islands and Maine island.
Upon arrival in the UK, the identity of the pet will be checked by reading the number of the transponder as well as the accompanying documents. The travelling must take place by approved routes and with approved companies (more details are available at: https://www.gov.uk); if one is going to North Ireland other rules apply. The obligation to travel by the approved routes does not apply to owners of guide dogs, however, officers at the point of entry into the UK have to be warned by the owners that they arrive with guide dogs.
The approved routes do not have to be observed if one travels to the UK from: Guernsey and Jersey islands, Maine Island and the Republic of Ireland.
When travelling takes place from countries infected with echinococcosis (Echinococcus multilocularis), e. g. from Lithuania, a private veterinarian has to be contacted at least 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (5 days) before arrival in the UK to ensure that medicines against echinococcosis are administered and a record in the pet passport or other document intended for the entry of the pet into the UK is made. This requirement is not going to be changed. The medicines against echinococcosis have to be registered in the EU or in the country of origin of the pet and they must contain praziquantel or other anthelmintics having an effect on echinococci.
If the travelling takes place directly from Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Norway or Malta the treatment against echinococci is not required.
More details on the entry of pets from the EU into the UK are also available on the web page DEFRA.
Certificates of transporter issued in the EU will be not valid in the UK.
All information and recommendations related to the withdrawal of the UK from the EU is also published on the web site of the European Commission https://ec.europa.eu.
In case you wish to have an advice or consult specialists of the SFVS as regards travelling with pets or some other relevant issues, you may contact by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +370 800 40 403.
Supply and import of veterinary medicinal products from the UK to the EU
Veterinary medicinal products are allowed to be placed on the EU market only if the marketing authorisation holder is established in the EU (i. e., the holder cannot be established in the UK). Veterinary medicinal products will be allowed to be imported from the UK only by a business operator holding an import license for veterinary medicinal products who will be responsible for the registration of the veterinary medicinal product in the Republic of Lithuania, that the batch is released in the EU and that the person responsible for the pharmacovigilance is established in the EU.
From 31 December 2020, the parallel trade in veterinary medicinal products acquired in the United Kingdom is no longer allowed.
More information is available at: https://ec.europa.eu.