This article was published before we became the Chartered Institute of Export & International Trade on 10 July 2024, and this is reflected in references to our old brand and name. For more information about us becoming Chartered, visit our dedicated webpage on the change here.


The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is compiling a list of businesses that can take advantage of the three-month grace period from official certification for products requiring Sanitary or Phytosanitary (SPS) checks - including agri-food goods.

The grace period for supermarkets and their suppliers – outlined in the Northern Ireland Protocol Command Paper published on 10 December after an agreement with the EU –  will allow traders to adapt to the new controls required post-transition.

List sent to EC

Once they are identified by DEFRA, the traders will be added to an 'authorised traders' list to be sent to the European Commission.

The grace period covers products of animal origin (POAO), composite products, food and feed not of animal origin, as well as plants and plant products.

DEFRA defines ‘authorised traders’ as supermarkets and their trusted suppliers.

A ‘trusted supplier’ is one that independently moves its end product from GB to NI, for sale in NI. Any size of firm can be included.

For example, a meat pie manufacturer moving its own products from GB to NI directly to a store for sale solely within NI would be in scope.


Traders and suppliers who trade between GB to NI can self-identify to apply for inclusion on the authorised traders list by completing the form found here.

This form must be filled-in fully and returned to: by 5pm (GMT) on 28 December 2020.

DEFRA will attempt to respond to all emails within two working days to either:

  • confirm if a business has been included on the list, giving that firm a unique registration number

  • or if an application is rejected, the reasons why and steps to resolution. Businesses can challenge rejection decisions via email until 28 December 2020.

For any queries relating to authorised trader requirements or the grace period, email