Retailers warn of fruit and veg disruption after transition period

UK and EU companies have to process customs declarations and have to carry out controls in 2021

UK and EU companies have to process customs declarations and have to carry out controls in 2021

The UK could see an interruption in the supply of fruit and vegetables after the government confirmed that it would conduct post-Brexit border controls after Brexit, an industry organization warned.

Consumers may see supply problems as controls are due to come into force in January next year at the end of the transition period, the UK retail consortium said.

Such border controls could result in significant delays, even for thousands of trucks carrying fresh products.

A simplified high-tech limit will only come into force in 2025, the authorities say.

Until then, companies in the European Union and the UK will have additional documents. The government said there was enough time to prepare.

The BRC's director of nutrition and sustainability, Andrew Opie, urged ministers to "act quickly" to set up the border infrastructure.

He said: "Without the necessary infrastructure that has been in operation from day one, UK consumers will experience significant disruption, especially with the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables.

“If you think this will hit us in January, this is our main import season for things like fresh fruit and vegetables.

"Customers will really see the problems on supermarket shelves if we don't get this infrastructure," he said.

Michael Gove, the government's Brexit chief of planning, said Britain should be "ready" for the customs and regulatory controls that will follow after the transition period.

"As a result, we will be in a stronger position, not just to ensure that our economy outside the EU is successful, but to be able to use new trade relationships with the rest of the world," he said earlier this week Border delivery group event.

The Brexit transition period ends on December 31 this year at 11:00 p.m.

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