The road to a 'full and final' Brexit has been a long and winding one for the food sector, and we are not yet at the end of it.  The UK Government has moved the goal posts a number of times over the last few years, with various import controls and labelling changes being delayed at a number of stages. Although many have now been implemented a number are yet to come into force and, only last week, the Government announced that the remaining tranche of import controls on EU goods will no longer be introduced on 1 July 2022.

EU traders will, for now, continue to move their goods from the European Union to Great Britain under pre-existing arrangements.  This is, the Government says, in order to support businesses facing increased costs and supply chain issues as a result of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the recent rise in global energy costs. The impact on supply chains brought about by greater border controls arising from Brexit itself is not at the forefront of the Government's communications.

The planned controls which are being further delayed are:

  • the requirement for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks currently at destination to be moved to a Border Control Post (BCP);

  • the requirement for safety and security declarations on EU imports;

  • the requirement for health certification for further SPS imports;

  • the requirement for SPS goods to be presented at a BCP; and

  • prohibitions and restrictions on the import of chilled meats from the EU.

The indication is that these measures will be introduced in 2023 so, for now, businesses can down tools on preparing for their implementation.  With only 2 months to go to the July 2022 implementation date, however, many business will already have invested time and money in preparing for the controls to be implemented this summer. Once again, forward planning and certainty in the management of food supply chains continues to be a challenge for many businesses.