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Falling on Deaf Ears: FPC Chief Blasts Government for BTOM Shambles

Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC), has issued a vehement warning to the UK government, expressing ongoing deep frustration over the new post-Brexit biosecurity rules for fresh produce.

Jenney criticises the regulations for not only imposing additional costs but also risking the freshness of fruits and vegetables due to inevitable delays.

Jenney has lambasteed the government for categorising many fruit and vegetable imports into the medium risk category under the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM). This decision mandates extensive documentation, causing significant delays at new border points.

"The Government has single-handedly created the world’s most inefficient and expensive border,” Jenney stated angrily. “A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has been squandered, and we now await government-enforced consequences for both businesses and consumers.”

The FPC estimates that the new processes will add £200 million in additional import costs, disproportionately affecting small enterprises and ultimately burdening British consumers with higher prices.

Jenney underscores the impact on perishable goods, stating, “Every instance of a product being stopped or inspected adds cost and delay, both of which are detrimental.”

Jenney is particularly outraged by the government's disregard for expert advice and industry-proposed solutions that could ensure efficiency and biosecurity. “We’ve offered workable solutions for years, but the government has procrastinated and shown total incompetence,” he asserts.

Key points highlighted by Jenney include obscene charges like the “common user charges" of up to £14,500 per 100 consignments, equating to around £1,450 for each vehicle carrying a mixed load.

“This will add millions of pounds in annual costs to the supply chain, placing tremendous financial pressure on small companies and major importers alike,” he asserted.

The FPC is calling for immediate reconsideration of these rules to prevent unnecessary waste and ensure British consumers have access to a diverse range of fresh produce without facing exorbitant costs.

“The government’s failure to listen is leading us into a crisis of their own making, and it’s the businesses and consumers who will pay the price,” Jenney warns.


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