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Import checks on food delayed until 2023

Physical checks and health certificates on certain food imports from the European Union (EU) into the United Kingdom (UK) have been delayed once more. Full checks on animal and plant products from the EU were scheduled to have started in July 2022, following previous postponements following the end of the transition period. The full checks would include health certificates and physical inspections at borders. Some initial measures on imports into the UK called pre-notification are in place and controls introduced in January 2021 on the highest risk imports of animal and plant products will continue.

It is the fourth time Government has delayed implementing import checks on food from the EU Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said Government was reviewing how it would implement checks on EU goods and that the new controls regime will come into force at the end of 2023.

The announcement has received mixed reactions from food business operators. While some have welcomed the decision citing new import checks as adding yet another bottleneck in supply chains that are already under strain, others suspect that ‘kicking the can down the road’ will not give businesses the certainty that they need to prepare. Furthermore, the director general of the Provision Trade Federation warned that it would “prolong the competitive advantage currently enjoyed by EU exporters to the UK as compared to UK exporters to the EU, who have had to face full controls since the end of the transition period”.

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