Food and drink after Brexit (food supply and laws)

Last updated: 15 January 2021

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. This process is often known as 'Brexit'.

The UK Government and the EU have now agreed a deal on their future relationship. From 1 January 2021 this new relationship with the EU will begin.

There will be effects on some areas of life in Scotland. This may include changes to food and drink supplies.

This page will be updated to give the latest facts. Keep checking back for new information.

Food supplies

While much of the food and drink we have in Scotland is produced within Scotland and the UK, some of it gets imported into the UK from other countries in the EU and beyond.

The Scottish Government is working closely with retailers, the food industry and others across the supply chain to make sure everyone will be able to get the things they need.

You do not need to do anything differently. Think of others and shop as normal.

If you're struggling to afford food

Some families in Scotland struggle to be able to afford or access food. This is also known as 'household food insecurity'.

Brexit may lead to some foods becoming more expensive or harder to find, which may affect those who need the most help.

If you're worried about not being able to afford food, there are a number of ways you can get help. For example, you may be eligible for a Scottish Welfare Fund Crisis Grant.

Citizens Advice Scotland gives information on food support in your area.

The Scottish Government continues to look at ways to tackle and respond to food insecurity. This includes increasing the Fair Food Fund to £3.5 million in 2019-20 and investing an extra £1 million in food redistribution.

Exporting for food businesses

If no EU trade deal has been agreed by the end of the Brexit transition period, there are likely to be effects on Scottish food and drink producers who export their goods to EU countries.

Some of these goods (like beef and lamb) could face large tariffs.

Others, like seafood, may have other barriers, like additional certification and delays in getting products to market. This could have a financial impact.

The Scottish Government is working with the industry and others within the supply chain to assess the effects of this disruption and reduce any impacts.

The Prepare for Brexit site is designed to help Scottish businesses prepare for Brexit by explaining what they may need to do to be able to continue exporting to the EU.

The EU Exit Food Hub has information for the food industry written by food industry partners.

Food safety and standards

Most food law in Scotland comes from the EU. Food Standards Scotland has been working with the Scottish Government and UK Government to make sure the same protections will continue. This will ensure that food and drink that comes into the country after 1 January 2020 is safe to consume.

Food Standards Scotland is also working to make sure the public in Scotland are protected from any possible disruption to the supply chain.

The Food Standards Scotland website gives more information on preparations for Brexit. It has information for businesses about action they may need to take.

More information

More details on food and drink in Scotland will be added to this page as new information on Brexit is available.

Meanwhile, there are a number of other sites you can check for updates: