Food and drink after Brexit (food supply and laws)

Last updated: 26 February 2020

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

We're now in a transition period (also known as the implementation period) that's likely to last until the end of December 2020. This means the UK is currently still following EU rules.

In January 2021 the transition period will end and our 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.

The UK is now in the Brexit transition period. This means many of the details about what Brexit will mean are not yet known. This page gives the latest facts, but it will be updated as more details are confirmed. Please 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 any disruption to the supply of food and drink will be kept to a minimum.

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.

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.

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 support in your area.

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.

Food safety and standards

Food Standards Scotland is continuing to prepare for Brexit, to make sure that public health is still protected after the Brexit transition period ends.

Most food law in Scotland currently comes from the EU and makes sure food that comes into the country is safe to eat and drink.

Food Standards Scotland is working with the Scottish Government and UK Government to make sure the same protections will continue after Brexit.

It's 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 what it's been doing to prepare for Brexit.

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:

The content on this site is correct as of today's date and is based on the information available at this time. Regular updates will be made as the Brexit process develops. In the event of a 'no deal', additional advice and information will be given on this site. Please continue to check back for updates.