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.

Collectively the package will replace over 70 existing European Directives and Regulations, helping to simplify legislation and making it easier to use for everyone involved.

It affects individuals and businesses involved in the agri-food chain and encompasses activities such as the production, manufacture, supply and regulation of food, feed, live animals, animal products, plants and plant products.

The SRSF package includes three principal EU Regulations:                                         

These EU Regulations are supported by EU tertiary legislation that adds the detail to them.

1. EU Official Controls Regulation 2017/625

The new EU Official Controls Regulation (OCR) sets out mechanisms for ensuring that responsible persons and authorities enforce the rules and must verify that businesses are complying with the legal requirements. It explains what action enforcement authorities must take when they spot such non-compliance. This covers:

  • food and food safety, integrity and wholesomeness at any stage of production, processing and distribution of food
  • feed and feed safety at any stage of production, processing and distribution of feed and the use of feed
  • animal health requirements
  • prevention and minimisation of risks to human and animal health emerging from animal by-products and derived products
  • welfare requirements for animals
  • protective measures against pests of plants
  • requirements for the placing on the market and use of plant protection products and the sustainable use of pesticides, with the exception of pesticides application equipment
  • organic production and labelling of organic products
  • use and labelling of protected designations of origin, protected geographical indications and traditional specialities guaranteed
  • deliberate release into the environment of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) for the purpose of food and feed production

The requirements of the OCR covers how inspections, audits and sampling take place. It will simplify the current rules and make sure there is consistency across the entire agricultural industry and food chain by including plants and plant products and animal by-products.

The OCR will simplify and bring together several existing control rules. It repeals several pieces of EU legislation, in particular Regulation 882/2004 and Regulation 854/2004. The European Commission is currently working with EU Member States to finalise the tertiary legislation.

Some of the areas changing include:

  • extending official controls to plant health and animal by-products
  • increasing the transparency of controls carried out by national enforcement authorities
  • creating a common framework for carrying out border controls on animals and goods entering or crossing the EU
  • strengthening controls to identify fraudulent practices at an early stage
  • modernising the computerised systems for the management of data and information on official controls

2. Register for the new IT system - TRACES NT

From 11pm on 13 December, TRACES NT will be the new system used for notifying imports from outside the EU. For imports arriving in the UK after this date, you will need to notify using TRACES NT.

If you use TRACES Classic for intra EU trade, you must continue to do so.

To register for TRACES NT, you must first create a new EU login account.

Once you have your new EU login account, you can request a new user access profile in TRACES NT.

The first person in an organisation to register for a new TRACES NT account will become the administrator for that organisation.

If you have a technical issue, you should email

3. EU Plant Health Regulation 2016/2031

The EU Plant Health Regulation (PHR) was published on 26 October 2016 and will apply to EU Member States from 14 December 2019, alongside Official Controls Regulation.

Plant health helps agriculture and forestry sectors remain sustainable and competitive, as well as protecting domestic biodiversity and ecosystems. Globalised trade and climate change now present a greater risk to these sectors. The new EU 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.

The SRSF package revises and improves the current EU plant health legislation. This will protect domestic agriculture, horticulture, forestry, parks, gardens and the environment by preventing the entry of harmful plant pests and diseases.

It will benefit stakeholders in the following ways.

For citizens, it will provide:

  • better protection of landscapes and forests, public and private green spaces
  • increased awareness of UK plant health measures
  • reduced need for pesticide use

For growers and farmers, it will provide:

  • a simpler and more consistent plant passport format
  • a more harmonised approach to internal plant movement including better traceability and protection of their production
  • a risk-based approach to plant health surveillance
  • strengthened outbreak management processes

For businesses involved in the agri-food chain, it will provide:

  • a common business register
  • harmonised traceability

For public authorities, it will provide:

  • EU financial support for the implementation of surveillance and eradication/containment measures
  • access to EU information systems and alert response tools

DAERA will provide sector-specific advice to businesses through stakeholder communications, the DAERA website and the UK Plant Health Portal.

The PHR will improve the current EU plant health legislation and repeal Directive 2000/29. The European Commission is currently working with EU Member States on the tertiary legislation and the UK is participating fully in this process.

Some of the areas changing include:

  • extending the scope and changing the format of plant passporting
  • new requirements for authorisation to issue plant passports
  • more goods imported to the EU will need a phytosanitary certificate
  • new requirements for the registration of professional operators
  • movements within the EU - restrictions between disease free and pest free areas
  • a strengthened protected zone
  • 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
  • new category of priority pests, including annual surveying requirements and outbreak contingency planning

4. EU Animal Health Regulation 2016/429

The EU Animal Health Regulation (AHR) was published on 31 March 2016.

The UK and other EU Member States are currently in a 5 year implementation period for AHR. The new rules will apply in EU Member States from 21 April 2021.

The AHR outlines the principles of European animal health, supporting:

  • a quick reaction in cases of emerging animal diseases and controlling outbreaks as effectively and efficiently as possible
  • a consistent approach in dealing with different animal health diseases
  • reducing the effect of animal disease outbreaks on animal and public health, animal welfare, the economy and the wider rural community
  • functioning of the EU internal market in animals and animal products

Animal health legislation aims to prevent outbreaks of animal disease and achieve a high level of animal health by:

  • contributing to public health and food safety
  • responding to public concern about the treatment of animals and the protection of the environment
  • protecting farmers and the rural economy from the economic costs that animal disease outbreaks can cause
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