On 27 October, the United Kingdom (UK) indicated that it requires a quality certification for imported shipments of fresh fruit and vegetables. This certificate - the European Union (EU) Certificate of Conformity, or inspection certificate - will be needed as of 1 January 2021. The UK will be the first third-party country with such a demand regarding the quality of imported fresh produce.
When exporting to third-party countries, fruit and vegetables already have to comply with EU trade standards. That's not a third-party country demand, but an EU export one. The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) monitors this using export controls. It then issues quality certificates.
The UK's stipulation (see www.gov.uk) is entirely new and unexpected. The Dutch Quality Control Bureau (KCB) was also blindsided. This demand has consequences for fruit and vegetable exporters to the UK. The CPC intended to implement the EU export requirement in phases in 2021. Due to last week's developments, that now has to happen immediately. However, the conditions' details and how the UK will implement them aren't yet entirely clear.
"We're doing everything we can to rapidly get an overview of the situation. The KCB is considering three different scenarios (in the case of a no-deal Brexit). It's now making the corresponding preparations," says a KCB spokesperson. "We'll give further details via this website. Click here for more information about the various outlines' preliminary explanations."
"You must register with the KCB. Then you can soon request online quality certification. For this, you'll need access to e-CertNL. Do you sell fruit and vegetables to the UK? Are you not yet familiar with e-CertNL? And not yet registered with the KCB? Then see the steps you must take here," says the KCB.
The KCB is following the Brexit developments closely. The British government shares important guidelines on www.gov.uk. These are subject to change. As soon as more details are known about the requirements and necessary checks, the KCB will pass these on via their website. In the meantime, if anyone has questions about quality requirements relating to Brexit, please message firstname.lastname@example.org.