Upcoming Changes to Fresh Produce Import and Export Regulations: 1st January 2022

29th December 2021
Posted in Blog
29th December 2021 FruPro

Upcoming Changes to Fresh Produce Import and Export Regulations: Get Prepared for 1st January 2022

From 1st January 2022, there will be changes to the regulations that govern the way in which British businesses trade with Europe and the rest of the world. From declarations to certifications to inspections, you need to be aware of the upcoming changes and how they will impact your business.

Below, we’ve collated some useful resources that will help you get your business prepared for 1st January 2022 and beyond.

Importing Fresh Produce Into Great Britain

If your business is involved in importing fresh produce into the UK, there are several useful resources that you should familiarise yourself with. If you’re a member of the Fresh Produce Consortium, you are fortunate enough to have access to their extensive guide on importing fresh produce into the UK from 2022. The 122-page guide covers a lot of vital information that you should be aware of if you’re an importer of fresh fruits and vegetables, including customs procedures, duty payments and plant health requirements for imports of fresh produce.

If you’re not a member of the Fresh Produce Consortium, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published all of the information you will need on the Gov.UK website. From the central hub, you will find links with useful information on the following topics:

Importing Fruit and Vegetables from the EU to Great Britain

  • From 1st January 2022, some fruit and vegetables imported from the EU will need to go through plant health controls. You can check which goods are affected here and read more about Plant Health Controls here.
  • Until 1st July 2022, the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate (HMI) and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) will carry out some quality and labelling check on fruit and vegetable imports.
  • From 1st July 2022, imports from the EU will routinely be checked at the GB border and need to meet the same requirements as imports from non-EU countries.
  • HMI inspects imports in England and Wales, while SASA inspects imports in Scotland.
  • If HMI or SASA decide to check your consignment, you’ll need to apply for a GB-issued Certificate of Conformity (CoC). If you’re in England & Wales you can apply for a CoC via the PEACH system and if you’re in Scotland you’ll need to contact SASA.

Importing Fruit and Vegetables from the EU to Northern Ireland

  • There aren’t any changes to the way you import fruit and vegetables from the EU to Northern Ireland. You can read further guidance from the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs via the section title link above.

Importing Fruit and Vegetables from non-EU countries directly to the UK

  • All goods which have to meet the Specific Marketing Standards (SMS) need a CoC before they can enter Great Britain.
  • You’ll need a GB-issued CoC unless your consignment is from a country that has UK Approved Inspection (AIS) status or it’s accompanied by a CoC issued by the country you’re importing from (the country must have UK AIS status).
  • Most imports accompanied by a CoC from countries with UK AIS status do not need routine quality and labelling (marketing standards) checks. HMI or SASA will inspect a small sample at random to make sure that goods comply with the quality and labelling rules.
  • Some goods that have to meet the General Marketing Standard (GMS) will be checked to make sure they meet quality and labelling requirements. If HMI or SASA decide to check your consignment, you’ll need to apply for a GB-issued CoC.
  • You must apply for a CoC for GMS goods on PEACH even if you’re importing from a country that has AIS status and you have a CoC that’s issued by that country.
  • If you import high-priority products, both the Plant Health and Seed Inspectorate (PHSI) and HMI (in England and Wales) will inspect your goods more than once. They’ll check that they meet quality and labelling rules (marketing standards) and plant health regulations. Further guidance on high priority goods and how to import them into the UK can be found here.

Importing Fruit and Vegetables from non-EU countries to the UK via the EU

  • Horticultural inspectors are continuing to assess fruit and vegetables travelling in transit from non-EU countries through the EU to the UK to determine whether an inspection is required at the border and to make sure that they comply with the UK’s marketing standards.
  • HMI and PHSI may check produce regulated by both marketing standards and plant health regulations in England and Wales. SASA carry out inspections on produce in Scotland.
  • HMI and PHSI carry out most quality and labelling (marketing standards) checks at the border. PHSI may check produce at inland plant health facilities.
  • If you import fruit and vegetables into the UK from a non-EU country and a proportion of your consignment is re-exported to the EU, your consignment needs to undergo both import and export processes.

Importing Green Bananas from the EU and non-EU countries to the UK

  • To import green bananas from a non-EU country to Great Britain, you must notify HMI on Peach if you’re importing into England and Wales or contact SASA if you’re importing into Scotland. HMI or SASA will inspect your consignment at the border.
  • Until 1st July 2022, HMI and SASA may check that green banana imports from the EU meet GM marketing standards.
  • From 1st July 2022, you’ll need an inspection certificate to import green bananas from the EU to Great Britain, whilst HMI and SASA will treat all green banana imports from the EU the same way as non-EU imports and routinely inspect them.
  • To apply for an inspection certificate you’ll need to use PEACH if you’re importing to England or Wales or contact SASA if you’re importing to Scotland.

Exporting Fresh Produce From Great Britain

As with Imports, the Fresh Produce Consortium has published an equally extensive guide on exporting fresh fruits and vegetables from the UK from 2022 onwards. The 100-page guide covers a lot of vital information that you should know if you’re a fresh produce exporter, including exporting from Great Britain to the EU, trading with Northern Ireland and exporting to a third country.

Once again, if you’re not a member of the Fresh Produce Consortium, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published all of the information on exporting that you will need on the Gov.UK website. From the central hub, you will find links with useful information on the following topics:

Exporting fruit and vegetables from Great Britain to the EU

  • You need to follow third country import requirements in the EU marketing standards regulations if you export fruit and vegetables from Great Britain to the EU.
  • SMS produce requires a CoC issued by Great Britain to get customs clearance in Great Britain. This includes products going to the EU. You do not need a CoC issued by Great Britain for GMS goods to clear customs.
  • The European Commission has granted the UK AIS status for fruit and vegetables. AIS status allows GB exporters of produce grown in Great Britain to use a GB-issued CoC when getting customs clearance in the EU. The AIS scheme can only be used for produce grown in Great Britain.
  • The scheme cannot be used for re-exports of third country produce from Great Britain to the EU. Re-exports of third country produce are subject to the EU’s third country import requirements.
  • In England and Wales, HMI issues the relevant certification. To apply for this certification, you should make a PEACH application. In Scotland, you should apply to SASA for this certification.
  • Most fruit and vegetables need a phytosanitary certificate before they’re exported from Great Britain to the EU.
  • You can apply for the Approved Trade Scheme (ATS) if you’re a grower, packer, importer or exporter of fresh produce in Great Britain and your business consistently meets marketing standards requirements. Approved traders benefit from fewer conformity checks than non-approved traders.

Moving Fruit and Vegetables from Great Britain to Northern Ireland

  • Fruit and vegetables moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland need to enter through designated points of entry and meet EU import marketing standards requirements.
  • A risk-based approach applies to controls on fruit and vegetables from Great Britain at points of entry in Northern Ireland. In line with the very low risk posed by GB goods, SMS and GMS goods can be released into free circulation (declared and customs duties paid) in Northern Ireland without needing a GB-issued CoC. This may change on the basis of risk.

Exporting Fruit and Vegetables from Northern Ireland to the EU

  • You can export fruit and vegetables from Northern Ireland to the EU in the same way as you did before 1 January 2021.

Exporting Fruit and Vegetables Directly from the UK to non-EU countries

Exporting green bananas from the UK to the EU and non-EU countries

  • You do not need an inspection or exemption certificate for green bananas to clear UK customs but you must check that you meet the quality and labelling rules for the country you’re exporting to before sending your consignment.

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