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British agencies propose changes to import checks

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British agencies propose changes to import checks

Food agencies in Great Britain are looking at changing the rate of checks on certain products being 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 of non-animal origin.

Before the United Kingdom left the European Union, routine updates to EU imported food legislation, made by the European Commission, applied in the UK. The latest decisions on EU control rates can be found in this earlier article.

Authorities in Great Britain are now responsible for reviewing and amending the legislation. Ministers will make risk management decisions based on the FSA and FSS recommendations. Changes will not apply in Northern Ireland because of the Northern Ireland protocol.

Detail on proposed changes
Removal of three products from the scope of controls has been proposed in the first review since the UK exited the EU. The FSA said data indicates that the level of risk has reduced significantly. Checks on five products will be scaled back because there is increasing confidence that compliance is improving.

Fourteen products will be subjected to more enhanced controls because of concerns about the risk they pose to public health. Another four items will be added to the list for checks that include documentary, identity and physical examinations including sampling.

The three removed products are pistachios from the United States because of aflatoxin, goji berries from China because of pesticide residues and dried grapes from Turkey because of Ochratoxin A.

Reduced checks could be in place for groundnuts from Brazil and China and hazelnuts from Turkey and Georgia because of aflatoxins plus betel leaves from Bangladesh because of Salmonella.

Increased controls may apply to black pepper from Brazil and sesame seeds from Sudan and Ethiopia because of Salmonella, groundnuts from the United States and India because of aflatoxin and pesticide residues on four products from Turkey.

The four potentially needing enhanced controls are lemons and peppers other than sweet 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 input ends on June 29. It is open to food and feed businesses, local and port health authorities, and other stakeholders with an interest in food safety.

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