Meat and cheese products from the UK – whether a Cornish pasty, Wensleydale cheese or jar of Bovril – could not be brought into France by travellers from the UK in the case of a no-deal Brexit, the EU has confirmed.
A European Commission health and food safety spokeswoman told Connexion that, so as to avoid introducing any animal diseases from abroad, meat, meat products (that do not ‘look like’ meat but are made from it) and milk and dairy products may not be brought in personal luggage from ‘third countries’, including in hold luggage.
She said this would include the UK after a no-deal Brexit, meaning travellers on ferries, planes or the Eurostar, whether holidaymakers or residents returning from a trip to see friends and family, could not bring back such UK foods. Posting them from the UK to France would also be banned, the spokeswoman said.
Such foods could still be available in certain shops in France, but might cost more due to additional import taxes and formalities. They would have to be certified at origin from an approved business in the UK and would have to come in via an EU border inspection post.
The EU commission spokeswoman said there are some limited exceptions such as small quantities of baby milk and foods needed for medical reasons (if they are foods that do not need to be chilled and are in unbroken packages) and for very small quantities of some items which pose only a minimal animal health risk, such as fish products and honey.
She said this is because the EU has the highest food safety standards in the world and free circulation of animals and food is only possible due to a stringent system of shared controls.
“When the UK leaves the EU, it will need to adapt to a new reality where the UK is no longer part of the invisible, but crucial, systems that make living in the EU so easy,” she said.
“As Vice President Katainen said during the press conference last week ‘The UK will be confronted with an obstacle we got rid of a long time ago: borders. Borders are not there to add red tape or slow things down.
“They are there to ensure that the food we eat is not a danger for our citizens and to protect our animals and plants. This is also very important for the UK as it imports more than 73% of its agri-food products from the EU.’
“New controls will have to be carried out at our borders with the UK. Member states are setting up border inspection posts and these are being swiftly approved by the commission.
“Our priority has been and remains to ensure that the EU food safety standards remain high and that EU citizens and businesses are not affected by Brexit.”
In the case of Brexit with a deal, such checks and restrictions would not apply during the transition period until the end of 2020, but might apply after that, depending on the nature of the future EU/UK relationship (which would be negotiated during the transition period).
Source: The Connexion