Brexit controls are finally here after being pushed back five times

Posted: 31 January 2024 | | 1 comment

Brexit legislation controlling the imports of multiple food and beverage products has come into force today, in a move which some claim will stretch already strained supply chains even further.


As of 31 January, the first “milestone” of the UK Government’s Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) comes into effect, which means “ the introduction of health certification on imports of medium risk animal products, plants, plant products and high risk food and feed of nonanimal origin from the EU.”

The controls apply to great swathes of food imports into the UK from the EU, and means that veterinary health check will be required on every shipment of meat, fruit and vegetable produce entering the UK. Export health certificates have been a feature of business for some time now, but now paperwork will also be required in the other direction too, with physical checks to follow in April.

This date has been coming for some time, after the UK Government pushed back the entrance of these regulations multiple times in a bid to give businesses more time to prepare.

Industry responds to fifth delay for post-Brexit food import checks

There have been several warnings from food and drink bodies that this extra bureaucracy could stretch supply chains even further, including the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA).

“We share the wider concerns that this will add significantly to costs as it will require duplication of labels and businesses to hold more stock. It will also increase the risk of waste if packed products are limited to one market,” a BMPA spokesperson said.

However, the BMPA also said that it does not expect “any disruption this week following the 31 Jan deadline simply because Government is treating this as an ‘educational’ period up to 30 April when there will be nothing more than random checks on the online system (IPAFFS).

“This will be to check the accuracy of entries and Export Health Certificates etc. There will be no stop/go consequences if there are errors or omissions, simply notification to the exporter of the possible consequences if these errors or omissions occurred after 30 April 2024 when systematic checks come in.”

Meanwhile, the Cold Chain Federation’s Executive Director, Tom Southall, has flagged concerns about whether European food businesses will be deterred from shipping food to the UK with the new measures in place, stating: “There is a risk some EU businesses decide not to bother with the UK because they don’t want to foot the extra costs. If you’re a small exporter – a supplier of meats like Parma ham, salami or chorizo – the extra cost per consignment is likely to be hundreds of pounds.”

There’s never been a good time to do it, which is why it’s been delayed five times. We have heard of a lot of concern that there hasn’t been enough engagement with EU member states to get them ready, so this could lead to disruption at the start. And there is the risk that now have these requirements, there could be a drop-off in food imports because suppliers aren’t ready,” continued Southall. 

More analysis and reaction to follow on New Food.

One response to “Brexit controls are finally here after being pushed back five times”

  1. Duncan Perry says:

    I would like to introduce Outsource Laboratory Ltd to you. We are a laboratory set up in December using the very latest PCR testing using the German R Biopharm state of art technology. Results will be supplied, for example Listeria, less than 48 hours after receipt. Our main drive is to achieve a positive release service to the industry at an affordable cost.

    If we can be of any assistance do get in touch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.