UK prepares for new EU animal and plant health safety rules

Preparations required by UK businesses have been set out ahead of imminent new regulations aimed at modernising protections against animal diseases and plant pests
Preparations required by UK businesses have been set out ahead of imminent new regulations aimed at modernising protections against animal diseases and plant pests

New EU regulations looking at modernising and improving existing health and safety standards for the agri-food chain will soon come into force.

The UK will implement the EU Smarter rules for safer food (SRSF) regulations from 11pm on Friday 13 December.

The rules aim to simplify protections against animal diseases and plant pests and improve food safety within the EU.

The package seeks to take a risk-based approach to animal, plant and public health protection, introducing more efficient pest and disease control measures.



The new regulations will apply to the UK as member state of the EU and during any transition period.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the regulations will be retained by the Withdrawal Act and will continue to apply subject to any amendments parliament may agree.



SRSF regulations coming into place on 13 December are divided into two areas.

The Official Controls Regulation (OCR) applies to all UK businesses involved in trade in animals and products of animal origin (POAO), and the Plant Health Regulation (PHR) applies to firms involved in the production, manufacture, supply and regulation of plants, seeds, timber and plant products.

Defra said it has communicated with businesses affected by these changes on what preparations they need to make.

Changes for animal and animal by products businesses include using an improved IT system TRACES (NT) to log imports from beyond the EU.

For plant, seed and timber businesses, a large increase in the number of plant passports will be required as well as changes to the content and format of plant passport applications forms for businesses.

Defra said it is 'crucial' that preparations are undertaken to ensure businesses can continue to operate with the import and export of these products.