Smarter Rules for Safer Food

Plant Health elements of the new Official Controls and Plant Health Regulations - GUIDANCE

The new Official Controls Regulation (OCR) and Plant Health Regulation (PHR) will apply to all EU member states from 14 December 2019 and are part of the Smarter Rules for Safer Food (SRSF) package. As the UK will remain a member of the EU at this time these regulations will apply to Scotland. As the outcome of our departure from the EU is still to be negotiated, we will continue to prepare for a no deal which will include becoming a third country to the EU following implementation of the OCR and PHR. No deal preparation guidance will be updated to take into account these changes.

What is Smarter Rules for Safer Food?

The Smarter Rules for Safer Food (SRSF) package is a set of EU regulations for the protection against animal disease and plant pests. The package will modernise, simplify and improve existing health and safety standards for the agri-food chain. It will take a risk-based approach to animal, plant and public health protection, introducing more efficient pest and disease control measures.

The package includes 3 principal EU regulations: 

The 3 principal EU regulations are supported by EU negotiated tertiary legislation that adds the detail to the legislation. The technical detail in the tertiary legislation can be updated quickly in response to changing situations and new technology. The Scottish Government has been working with Defra, the devolved administrations, the European Commission and other EU member states on the content of the tertiary legislation.

In order to ensure a co-ordinated approach to regulatory implementation is made across the UK, the Scottish Government and UK government are working closely with delivery bodies, the devolved administrations and crown dependencies to ensure any new rules protect the UK’s biosecurity without putting any unnecessary burden on industry.

Plant Health Regulation

The Plant Health Regulation (PHR) will apply to EU member states from 14 December 2019 alongside the Official Controls Regulation.

The PHR helps the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors remain sustainable and competitive, as well as protecting domestic biodiversity and ecosystems. Globalised trade and climate change now presents a greater risk to these sectors. The new PHR sets out controls and restrictions that will apply to imports and internal movement of certain plants, plant pests, and other materials like soil, to help reduce these risks.

Some of the areas changing include:

  • The use of plant passports is being extended to cover all plants for planting and the format of the plant passport label is changing.  New requirements for authorisation will also be introduced.
  • More goods being imported into the EU will require a phytosanitary certificate.
  • New requirements for the registration of professional operators.
  • Strengthened measures for protected zones.
  • New requirements applying to high risk plants and regulated non-quarantine pests (RNQPs).
  • A more precautionary approach to new trade flows and a commitment to undertake thorough pest risk assessments.
  • A new category of priority pests will be introduced, including annual surveying requirements and outbreak contingency planning.

Please see the plant passporting guidance page for more details.

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