Post-Brexit food checks deferred for 5th time

The Financial Times has reported that Brexit checks on food and food products coming to the UK from the EU, that were due to start at the end of October have been delayed by the government for the fifth time, due to fears over inflation.

The decision to suspend plans to enforce the controls, which have been applied in the other direction to British exports to the EU since January 2021, is due to inflation fears and will be announced imminently, according to the Financial Times.

Press reports said it was a “Treasury purge” of all changes that would cause disruption to the supply chain, given the sensitivity of the food market to price increases in the current economic climate.

Under the proposed controls that were due to be introduced in October, EU exporters of food products to the UK would have required “export health certificates” costing several hundred euros each and requiring a physical sign-off by a veterinary surgeon.

The food industry warned last June that plans to charge a flat-rate inspection fee of up to ÂŁ43 on each consignment of food coming from the EU would drive up food prices, with the government estimating total additional costs of EU controls at ÂŁ420mn a year.

The government has previously cited the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine as reasons for delaying the new checks.

On 5th April, The Border Target Operating Model: Draft for Feedback was published by the Cabinet Office, it gave a clear time line for import controls on EU originating food products.

31st October 2023 – Export health certificates and phytosanitary certificates are introduced for medium risk animal products and plant and plant products imported to GB from the EU.

31st December 2023 – permanent waivers introduced from the requirement to submit Safety and Security declarations on certain categories of low-risk movements – fish which have been caught in UK territorial seas and landed outside of the UK.

1st January 2024 – Documentary checks and physical and identity checks at the border to be introduced for medium risk animal products, plant and plant products imported from the EU. Controls will also be applied to RoW low risk products, and pre notification no longer required for low risk plants/plant products.

31st October 2024 – Safety and Security declarations are required for EU imports. Alongside this, use of the UK Single Trade Window will remove duplication across pre-arrival datasets where possible.

A new timetable has not yet been signed off by ministers, but the start of the new regime is expected to slip into next year. It was originally supposed to have started in July 2021.

The current regulations for movements of foodstuffs remain unchanged, Metro as ever will be here to offer full support for all your import and export documentary needs.

Metro are at the forefront of customs brokerage solutions for the food and drink industry, with our automated CuDoS declaration platform and dedicated team of customs experts, reacting swiftly to any changes in the UK’s trading regimes.

To learn how we can simplify and automate customs declarations for your businesses, please EMAIL Andy Fitchett, Brokerage Manager, to review the options.