Quality and price may be compromised, says FPC Chief Executive

Nigel Jenney, the Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium, has voiced serious industry concerns on BBC Newsnight regarding the effective import of EU fresh produce to the UK. It follows the government’s decision to enforce new post-Brexit processes, along with a new IT system that hasn’t yet materialised.

“The adoption of the process the government has enforced on the industry is not the most cost-effective way of doing things” Jenney explained.

Currently we import 65% of the UK’s fruit and veg supplies, with approximately 3 million tonnes from the EU. In addition, approximately 70% of our flowers come from or via the EU but, from 1 April, fresh produce and flower imports from the EU will be subjected to new SPS checks to ensure they meet new UK standards.

Each consignment will require an inspection by EU officials to produce the necessary Phyto the UK Government demands.

The details of each import must then be entered into a new Government IT system prior to UK arrival.

"The IT still hasn’t been released for use by our sector with only days to go," added Jenney.

"We estimate over a million hard copy phyto’s per year will be required - yes paper copies! The government hasn’t developed electronic so called e-phyto’s and these are probably years away," he noted.

“We are very, very concerned,” Jenney concluded. “ We simply want to offer great quality produce at great prices but this is likely to be compromised.”

Watch the Newsnight video below:

Read Jenney's further comments on LinkedIn here.