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New animal and plant safety measures announced
The new rules apply to the UK while it remains a member of the European Union and during any transition period.

Measures designed to modernise and improve food safety standards

The UK government has announced a series of measures ‘aimed at modernising protections against animal diseases and plant pests as well as improving food safety’.

The new EU Smarter rules for safer food regulations will come into force at 11 pm on Friday, 13 December 2019.

A Defra press release reads: ‘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 new regulations are split into two areas and will affect businesses in the following industries:
- the Official Controls Regulation (OCR) applying to all UK businesses involved in trade in animals and products of animal origin (POAO)
- the Plant Health Regulation (PHR) applying to all UK businesses involved in the production, manufacture, supply and regulation of plants, seeds, timber and plant products.’

Businesses affected by these changes have already been contacted by Defra and are being urged to prepare so they can continue to operate with the import and export of these products. The changes include:

- for animal and animal by-products businesses: Using an improved IT system TRACES (NT) to log imports from beyond the EU and new look import forms.
- for plant, seed and timber businesses: A large increase in the number of plant passports required as well as changes to the content and format of plant passport applications forms for businesses.

The new rules apply to the UK while it remains a member of the European Union and during any transition period. In the event of a Brexit no-deal, the regulations will be retained by the Withdrawal Act and will continue to apply subject to any Parliamentary amendments.


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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
New appointment at Dechra

Dechra Veterinary Products Ltd (Dechra) has announced a key appointment to support veterinary professionals across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Karen Hockley has been appointed as a telesales account manager and will provide the latest products, news and developments from Dechra. She joins the company from a large mixed practice in Northern Ireland where she was the branch manager.

Before that, Karen had worked for a multinational veterinary pharmaceutical company as a key account manager for Northern Ireland. She can be contacted at or 087 219 54 30.