Defra provides update on potential impact of No Deal Brexit

  • Local Food and drink businesses had the opportunity to hear from Defra

Yesterday, businesses in Norfolk’s food and drink sector had the opportunity to hear directly from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) about the potential impact of a no deal Brexit on their industry and to ask any specific questions that they had.  The event was held in conjunction with Local Flavours and Birketts LLP and was attended by a range of businesses including Pasta Foods, Bullards Gin, Pepperells Meats, Yare Valley Oils and Fresh Pod.

Elizabeth Osgood from Defra’s Business Readiness team, provided information about the key changes as a result of the UK leaving the EU; how imports, exports and food labelling would be affected and offered some practical tips for the businesses around the table.

Some of the key takeaways included:

Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) - If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, businesses will need an EORI number that starts with GB to continue trading with the EU after 29 March 2019.

Food Labelling – the rules for what you must show on food labels will change for some food and drink products if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019. Some of the new rules will come into effect from exit day. For others, businesses will have longer to update their food labels.  The UK government is aiming, wherever possible, to allow a transition period for labelling changes in relation to goods produced or imported and placed on the UK market after exit day. – for full information on all the aspects of food labelling click here.

Supply Chain – assess your whole supply chain – not only your food and drink products, but also any cleaning products/chemicals that are a necessary part of your product processing. i.e. carbonated drinks need Co2.  You also need to note that whilst your immediate suppliers may not affected, do their suppliers import from the EU and could this ultimately impact on you?

Businesses also heard an update on the regulations surrounding employing overseas workers and the potential impacts on GDPR regulations, where business data is being transferred between the UK and the EU.

Commenting on the event, Nova Fairbank, Head of Policy for Norfolk Chamber of Commerce said:

“A recent Norfolk Chambers survey showed that 96% of businesses in our region advised that a No Deal Brexit would impact on their businesses in some way.  Any opportunity that we can offer them to hear more information on the level of preparation needed for the UK’s departure from the EU is very welcome.  Today’s event certainly provided plenty for our food and drink sector to think about.”

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