EU food checks delayed for fourth time

Physical checks on fresh food from the EU has been delayed for the fourth time, Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg confirmed in a written statement on 28 April.

Rees-Mogg announced plans to digitise all checks and paperwork at the border which will be published in a strategy in autumn.

As a result, Britain will have to continue relying on the EU to monitor food safety – a move which food producers said would place them at a disadvantage compared with European competitors.

READ MORE: Jacob Rees-Mogg: Brexit has ‘nothing to do’ with rising food prices

Currently, ministers are aiming to for the end of 2023 to implement a new border control regime, making it three years after the end of the Brexit transition period.

Comparatively, the EU introduced checks on goods arriving from the UK immediately after Brexit.

Checks on meat were originally due for 1 July, dairy checks were due for 1 September and remaining goods such as fish and composite foods were meant to be checked from 1 November.

Additionally, a lobby for the industry The British Ports Association (BPA) said expensive border posts costing £200m for the taxpayer may never be used.

“This announcement is a major policy change, meaning the facilities will effectively become white elephants, wasting millions of pounds of public and private funding,” BPA CEO Richard Ballantyne said.

On top of this, ports have already began hiring staff for the post-Brexit checks and the government has already spent public money on building inland border control facilities.

“I do accept that some money was spent in preparation for 1st July which won’t now be needed, but the ports will benefit, as they are saying at Eurotunnel, from the easing of flow,” Rees-Mogg told the Guardian.

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