FASFC Carried Out More Than 6,000 Checks on British Food Products Last Year
Since the start of Brexit last year, the Federal Food Agency FASFC has carried out 6250 checks on products imported from the United Kingdom. As a result, since January 2021, products such as Stilton cheese, lamb or yoghurt no longer cross the borders.
British companies have since had to adhere to the same import rules as other third countries, such as China, for example. However, most shipments from the United Kingdom were found to be satisfactory.
The FASFC checks whether the necessary documents accompany the shipment and whether the goods comply with European legislation for shipments from the United Kingdom. This turned out to be the case with 95 percent of the checked shipments. If there were problems, it was usually with documents that were not quite in order.
“The British food companies have been part of the European Union for many years. They know food safety legislation very well. If there are problems, it mainly concerns documents that have not been completed or have not been completed completely,” says Hélène Bonte of the FASFC.
In 2021, 5,859 consignments of products of animal origin were registered for control at the Belgian border. Over half of them are fats for technical use, such as fats and hides, a quarter is animal feed, and a fifth is a meat and dairy products.
There were also 24 shipments of live animals, mostly horses. In addition, there were 356 shipments of plants and plant products.
Since Brexit, Belgian companies have also had to have many products checked before they can be exported to the United Kingdom. The FASFC issued more than 6,200 certificates for this in 2021.
These included 950 health certificates to export live animals and products – horses, horse semen and dogs. In addition, 5,250 phytosanitary certificates were also issued for plants and plant products. These are ornamental plants, shrubs and trees.
From 1 July, the FASFC will have to issue certificates for more Belgian products. Then, in three phases, all products of animal origin and almost all plants and plant products coming from Belgium will also be checked at the British borders.
To cope with the increased import and export controls, the FASFC started recruiting 115 additional staff in 2020. “At the moment, all those people have been recruited and also trained to do those checks, and everything is running smoothly. So we are ready to meet the new requirements of the United Kingdom as well,” says Bonte.