On 14th December 2019, a new EU plant health regulation ((EU) 2016/2031) comes into operation bringing rigorous new rules to prevent the introduction and spread of pests and diseases of plants in the EU.
Countries exporting fruit and vegetables to the EU must take action to ensure that all consignments are in compliance. Details on the new plant health rules, as well as the new Official Control Regulations (OCR), are given in this document from Freshfel Europe. The OCR concerns actions to be taken by competent authorities of EU Member States on imported produce.
The most critical points to note at the present time are:
Note that these new procedures must be applied to all produce arriving in Europe on or after 14th December 2019.
In addition to new plant health rules, the EU Official Controls Regulation ((EU) 2017/625) brings in stricter documentary and physical checks on arrival in Europe; the competent authorities of EU Member States must now inspect a minimum of 1% of all consignments with a phytosanitary certificate, this percentage can increase up to 100% in case of high risk of interception.
All of these changes have important implications for national inspection services in exporting countries. In future, inspections at the point of export must be done very thoroughly. If pests are found on arrival in Europe, especially regulated pests, the EU authorities are likely to take action that has serious consequences for export sectors.
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