The Retail Movement Assistance Scheme is a new scheme introduced as part of the Windsor Framework that is designed to support businesses importing prepackaged goods of plant and animal origin.
What is the Retail Movement Scheme?
The Retail Movement Scheme is a new scheme introduced as part of the Windsor Framework that is designed to support businesses importing pre-packaged goods of plant and animal origin which into Northern Ireland. For more information on specific requirements for goods of plant or animal origin please see the following link: SPS Requirements
How does it work?
Pre-packaged retail goods being imported into Northern Ireland from GB via the Retail Movement Assistance Scheme will be required to abide by all UK public health and consumer protection standards. This includes areas such as:
- public health
- genetic modification
- drinks such as wines, spirits, and mineral waters.
Under the Retail Movement Scheme businesses importing pre-packaged retail goods will be required to provide only one singular document called a General Certificate. This document will confirm that all goods on a vehicle meet the requirements of the scheme. There will be no need for businesses to provide individual export health certificates on individual products within a shipment.
There will be some additional labelling requirements for certain products which enter Northern Ireland under the Retail Movement Scheme. These are discussed in more detail here: Labelling Requirements
Who can register for the Retail Movement Scheme?
The Retail Movement Scheme is open to all businesses in Northern Ireland who are involved in selling or facilitating the selling of food for final consumption in Northern Ireland.
Examples of businesses who are eligible include but are not limited to:
- Retailers selling finished goods to end consumers.
- Hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants who are bringing goods in from Great Britain directly.
- Those providing food to the public sector – for example schools, hospitals, and prisons along with businesses operating canteens.
- Wholesalers supplying retail outlets.
What goods are eligible to be moved under the Retail Movement Scheme?
All GB and EU origin goods can be moved under this scheme. In addition, Northern Ireland origin products which have been processed in GB are also eligible.
There are also some other examples of goods which are eligible to be moved under the Retail Movement Scheme. More details on these goods can be found in this guidance on GOV.UK: Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme: how the scheme will work.
Alternatively, if you need further support, please use our chatbot function where, subject to eligibility, you may be able to receive specialist consultancy advice tailored to your business needs.
How can I register for the Retail Movement Scheme?
Registration for the Retail Movement Scheme is now open. More information including how to apply for this scheme can be found in this DEFRA policy paper about the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme: how the scheme will work.
Are there any additional registrations required?
To be able to use the Retail Movement Scheme businesses in Northern Ireland will also need to have obtained the following:
- Government Gateway Account: Register for Government Gateway | Online Services | DAERA (dardni.gov.uk)
- Export Health Certificate (EHC) Online: EHC Online: register for Government Gateway and your Defra account - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Food Business Operator (FBO) Number: Food business registration - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- TRACES NT Account: Log in (europa.eu)
What are the labelling requirements?
Under the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme certain food products will need individual product labels with the words ‘Not for EU’. These requirements will be brought in through 3 phases from October 2023 to July 2025.
Phase 1- October 2023
From 1 October 2023 all meat and dairy products moved from GB to Northern Ireland will need to be individually labelled with the words "Not for EU". A breakdown of products included under phase 1 can be found on GOV.UK in this list of commodity codes that need individual labels in phase 1 under the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme.
Phase 2 - October 2024
From 1 October 2024 all milk and dairy products entering Northern Ireland under the Retail Movement Scheme require individual labelling.
Phase 3 – July 2025
From 1 July 2025 composite products, fruit, vegetables, and fish will require individual labelling.
Are there any exceptions to the new labelling requirements?
There are several exceptions to the above rules on individual labelling, these include:
- Products sold loose or by weight on the sales premises at the consumer’s request.
- Products processed and sold on the sales premises by a retailer, for direct consumption.
- Products for sale in a canteen, restaurant, or other similar where food is intended for eating on the spot in Northern Ireland.
In addition to the above there are also exceptions for:
Shelf-Stable composite products such as confectionary, pasta, liqueurs, and cordials.
Products which meet UK health standards which don’t require certification at agri-food points of entry such as canned fruit and vegetables, nuts, and tomato ketchup.
What about box labels?
From 1 October 2023, if a product is not subject to individual labelling, there will be a requirement for labelling on the box/crate/packaging.
Following Phase 2 and Phase 3, products which become subject to individual labelling will no longer be subject to box/crate labelling.
Will there be any assistance to help with adoption of the new requirements?
There will be a 30-day transition period following the beginning of each phase to allow goods already on the market in Northern Ireland to be sold. Following the end of the transition period all labelling requirements will need to be met.
Do you need further assistance?
InterTradeIreland support can be accessed by engaging with our chat function. You may also be eligible for fully funded consultancy advice, subject to criteria.
Simply click the icon at the bottom right to get started.
Article reviewed: October 2023