UK agencies propose changes to import controls
British food agencies are considering changing the rate of checks on certain products imported into the region.
Separate comment periods have been launched by Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for England and Wales, to cover high-risk food and feed from not animal.
Before the UK left the European Union, routine updates to EU legislation on imported food, carried out by the European Commission, applied in the UK. The latest rulings on EU control rates can be found in this previous article.
UK authorities are now responsible for reviewing and amending legislation. Ministers will make risk management decisions based on recommendations from the FSA and FSS. The changes will not apply in Northern Ireland due to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Details of proposed changes
The removal of three products from the scope of controls was proposed in the first review since the UK’s exit from the EU. The FSA said the data indicates the level of risk has dropped significantly. Checks on five products will be reduced as it is increasingly certain that compliance is improving.
Fourteen products will be subject to more stringent controls due to concerns about the risk they pose to public health. Four more items will be added to the list of checks comprising documentary, identity and physical examinations, including swabs.
The three products removed are pistachios from the United States due to aflatoxin, goji berries from China due to pesticide residues, and raisins from Turkey due to ochratoxin A.
Reduced controls could be put in place for groundnuts from Brazil and China and hazelnuts from Turkey and Georgia due to aflatoxins and betel leaves from Bangladesh due to Salmonella.
Increased controls could apply to black pepper from Brazil and sesame seeds from Sudan and Ethiopia because of Salmonella, peanuts from the United States and India because of aflatoxin and pesticide residues on four products from Turkey.
The four that may need tighter controls are lemons and non-sweet peppers from Turkey and groundnuts from Brazil because of pesticides and betel leaves from Thailand because of Salmonella.
The FSA comment period closes on July 7 while the FSS call for submissions closes on June 29. It is open to food and feed companies, local and port health authorities and other stakeholders interested in food safety.
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