Post-Brexit checks on food imports from EU to UK to be delayed again

Post-Brexit checks on food imports from EU to UK to be delayed again
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Fri 4th Aug 2023

The introduction of new rules imposing extra checks on chilled and fresh food being imported into the UK from the European Union will be postponed for the fifth time, according to press reports.

The Financial Times says the government is about to delay the changes once again because of fears they would increase red tape tape for businesses, hike up the cost of food imports for consumers and further drive up inflation.

Post-Brexit checks are been in force on chilled and fresh food exported from the UK to the EU since January 2021 with businesses needing to go through sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks.

Similar rules for produce being transported from the EU to the UK have been delayed four times - once in 2020, twice in 2021 and again in 2022.

In April this year, the government said they would be phased in from 31 October 2023, with further changes next year. It is now believed that the rules won't start to come into force into January 2024.

Some UK producers have complained that the delay for EU businesses gives them a commercial advantage because they don't have to deal with extra checks. However, the Cold Chain Federation, which represents the temperature controlled logistics industry, welcomed the latest postponement.

Chief executive Shane Brennan said:

"The government has made the right decision to postpone. UK food retailers, hospitality businesses and consumers were in line for major disruption because many EU food-producing businesses supplying into the UK are not ready for the new requirements."

News of the delay to food import checks follows the announcement by the government earlier this week that the EU's CE product safety mark will continue to apply in the UK "indefinitely". UKCA, a new mark for goods sold in the UK, was due to be introduced in January 2024.

Business groups complained that the change would add extra costs and red tape, particularly for those selling goods in both Britain and the EU who would have been forced to comply with two different systems.

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Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance journalist and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's news reporter and Bristol Local Leader. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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