Defra has announced that rather than border checks, should there be a no-deal Brexit, food inspections will take place inland to ensure compliance with protocols. With the official Brexit date looming (29th March), Defra has confirmed that marketing standards processes at UK borders will not change in the short term if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. However, these arrangements are only temporary. The measure does not apply to green banana imports from the EU, with importers told to contact the PEACH helpdesk or the SASA Horticulture and Marketing Unit as appropriate. Horticultural inspectors will continue to assess fruit and vegetables travelling in transit from third countries through the EU to the UK to determine whether an inspection is required at the border and ensure that they comply with the UK’s marketing standards, according to the Defra notice. For produce imported via a non-EU third country, marketing standards checks will continue to be carried out at the border.
The UK will continue to accept certificates of conformity issued by countries in the Approved Inspection Scheme (AIS). Most imports from countries on the AIS scheme will not require routine marketing standards checks, but a small sample will be randomly selected for inspections.