News article

Brexit: Exporting GM food and animal feed if there is no deal

2 October 2019


How businesses that hold or seek authorisations for GM food or feed or animal feed additives, or export animal feed to the EU, will be affected if there is a no-deal Brexit

The following businesses should prepare for the rules and processes that will apply if the UK leaves the EU with no deal:

  • those holding or seeking authorisations for genetically modified (GM) food or feed
  • those holding or seeking authorisations for animal feed additives
  • those exporting animal feed products to the EU
  • those that have applications to update the list of feed for particular nutritional purposes (PARNUTS) pending at the time of Brexit
  • those that represent companies that are based in non-EU countries which rely on UK representation for EU trade

Overview
Your business will need to be established in the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), or have a representative that is established in the EU or EEA if you wish to trade in the EU. The EEA includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The role of the representative is to provide assurance that the non-EU establishment complies with EU legislation. The following guidance explains what you need to do.
Appointing a representative

When appointing a representative, your UK businesses should ensure that the potential representative is based in one of the 27 EU countries, or an EEA country, and can act as such. When appointed, the representative needs to submit a request to the appropriate competent authority in the EU country or EEA state in which they are based. You should obtain confirmation that they have done so and, finally, that the competent authority has informed the European Commission.

UK businesses holding EU authorisations for GM food or feed, or for animal feed additives
If you are holding EU authorisations for GM food or feed, or for animal feed additives, you will need to designate a representative established in the EU or EEA. You will need to provide details of the representative to the European Commission. This could be a branch of your business which is established in the EU or EEA or another business. Changes to holder-specific authorisations for GM food or feed, or for feed additives, require amendments to EU legislation which would need to be in place by exit day. Businesses in the process of such changes need to approach the European Commission as soon as possible.

UK exporters of feed products to the EU
Exporters of feed products to the EU will require representation in the EU or EEA. As a guide only, current UK procedures on becoming a representative are available on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website. EU countries will each have their own systems for this and businesses should consult with the relevant competent authority in the EU country for further advice on gaining recognition for their representative. The requirement for non-EU country representation would apply to all feed products exported to the EU.

The requirement for non-EU country representation would apply to all feed products. This follows the European Commission’s announcement of a revised interpretation of feed hygiene requirements. The FSA is currently seeking clarity on this interpretation, but businesses should still anticipate this revised interpretation and consider designating a representative within the EU or the EEA.

Third country representatives
Exporters of feed products to the EU will require representation in the EU or EEA.

We are aware that some member states have specific national rules on the requirements of having a representative for importing feed into the EU. For example, they may require registration of all feed importers, including those from non-EU establishments that have a representative in another member state. Businesses should therefore consult with the relevant competent authority in the individual member state(s) that they wish to export to, to ensure that they are compliant with any national rules and for further advice on gaining recognition for their representative.

Further details of competent authorities in other member states can be found via the Commission’s website or through the ‘control systems’ tab of the country profiles for each member state, on this Commission page.

You could also seek clarification with your third country representative who could approach the relevant competent authority in the member state.

Labelling
Regulation (EC) No 767/2009 provides details of the labelling requirements for animal feed. Article 12 states that the person responsible for the labelling shall be the feed business operator who first places the feed on the market or the feed business operator under whose name or business name the feed is marketed.

It may be a requirement to have details of a third country representative on the label (i.e. company name and address or other) for animal feed products from the UK going to the EU market.

You should seek clarification with your third country representative or the competent authority in the individual member state(s) that you wish to export to, to ensure that you are compliant with the national rules.

Approval numbers
Regulation (EC) No 183/2005 on feed hygiene states that establishments approved by the competent authority shall be recorded in a national list under an individual identifying number. Once the UK leaves the EU, these approval numbers may not be recognised in EU countries.

You should seek clarification with your third country representative or the competent authority in the individual member state(s) that you wish to export to, to ensure that you are compliant with the rules on third country requirements when exporting to the EU.

Other businesses in the scope of this guidance
UK businesses that have applied for EU authorisation of GM food or feed; feed additives; or updates to the list of PARNUTS, and whose application is still being processed, if they wish for the application(s) to continue, will need to designate a representative established within an EU country or the EEA. The business would also need to provide details of the representative to the European Commission. For feed additives, this applies to both generic authorisations and those linked to a specific authorisation holder.

UK businesses acting in the role of a representative(s) for establishments in non-EU countries to enable them to export feed product to the EU, will need to inform the establishments they represent that they will no longer be able to act as their representative and advise them that they will need to appoint a representative based in an EU country or the EEA.

Imports into the UK
From day one of Brexit, third country businesses, including those in EU member states or EEA states, wishing to import feed into UK will need to have a UK representative if they wish to import products into the UK. Further details on applying for representatives can be found on the FSA website.

More information
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If you require more information or have questions on this guidance, please email the FSA: euexit@food.gov.uk