New law would impose fees on non-compliant imports
fees for additional costs incurred when imports of non-animal
origin do not comply with food and feed laws.
The UK Food Safety Authority (FSA) yesterday published a draft of the new regulations, which will replace the Official Feed and Food Controls (England) Regulations 2006. The UK and other EU member states are required to charge such fees under new EU requirements. The law would puts the onus on companies to ensure that their imports comply with food safety regulations or face the extra charges. Once passed, the amendments would allow the FSA to charge businesses for expenses arising from "additional official controls", according to the regulation. These are those checks carried out following the detection of non-compliant foods and feed imports and "which exceed the competent authority's normal control activities". For example such costs would include those related to the detention or destruction of a shipment. Under the law it would become an offence for an importer not to provide adequate facilities for customs inspectors to carry out checks. The FSA would also be able to charge businesses any costs relating to any need to seek assistance from other member states and the European Commission in ensuring unsafe imports do not pose a public health problem. Such costs include the administrative actions required to inform the Commission and other member state regulators of a persistent problem. Such charges would apply to cases of mislabelling, the FSA stated. Other costs include those incurred by the Commission if it sends an inspection team to investigate such cases. The Commission has said that liability to pay a charge under the provision was likely to arise only in "serious or significant cases", such as a major dioxin contamination outbreak. The deadline for comment on the draft regulation is 20 July.