After extensive lobbying led by FPC, the UK Government has today released a later, fundamentally reduced Medium Risk category which EXCLUDES FRUIT AND VEGETABLES.

FPC will be holding an industry event on 5th May 1-4pm at University of Lincoln to clarify the revised risk categorisation. We advise that all members responsible for bringing produce into the UK from the EU and beyond attend this event to ensure that they are familiar with any forthcoming changes. Book your place here.

Since the publication of the Target Operating Model in early April, FPC have lobbied extensively for clarification to allow industry the opportunity to plan effectively for products coming in from the EU and rest of world.

FPC have engaged consistently with Defra since Brexit in 2016 to forewarn of the impacts of their original revised border strategy. With this strategy, the industry would have faced inspection at Border Control Posts or Control Points at levels of 3% for ’Medium Risk’ fruit and vegetables imported from the EU.

Given these proposed levels of inspections and the industry’s least cost, highly efficient supply chains, this would have potentially caused huge disruption. The reliance of groupage and direct deliveries form the EU to UK customers adds a level of complexity which, whilst not unique, is certainly challenging. FPC have ensured that this has been at the forefront of all discussions.

Based on a conservative estimate, the original proposed strategy (based on High, Medium and Low Risk goods taking the High Priority, Article 72 and Article 73 categorisations), would have potentially added £150m to an already beleaguered industry. This is based on cost of inspections, diversions and delays, plus additional operation and administration costs, e.g. phytosanitary certificates.

These changes means that phytosanitary certificates will NO LONGER be required from fruit and vegetables coming from the EU in October 2023 (as originally required) nor will these produce items be subject to official inspections at the border from 31 January 2024.

Cut flowers and plants (and parts of) from the EU WILL however be included in this Medium Risk category and WILL be subject to the controls and the proposed strategy remains unchanged.

This decision to exclude fruit and vegetables will be subject to review however and there may be revisions to this in April 2024.

The risk categorisation for Rest of World goods will be published in the summer of 2023.

We welcome the Governments progressive approach to deliver a least cost, world leading solution and promoting UK food security. This in turn will minimise cost to hard pressed consumers and ensure that fruit and vegetables are available as part of a healthy diet.

FPC also offer specific advice to members should they require it.

Back to advice