Guidance

Fresh fruit and vegetable marketing standards from 1 January 2021

Advice for fruit and vegetable importers, packers, distributors and retailers on the changes to the marketing standards from 1 January 2021.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you'll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

If you process or sell fruit and vegetables which are subject to marketing standards, some of the processes you follow will change from 1 January 2021.

Marketing standards are rules on quality and labelling.

Importing fruit and vegetables from the EU to the UK

If you import fruit and vegetables from the EU into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), marketing standards processes at UK borders will change from 1 January 2021.

A small sample of imports from the EU will be selected for checks to ensure they’re complying with GB marketing standards. An EU-issued certificate of conformity will not be required for release into free circulation in GB.

The process for EU Member States to request GB Approved Inspection Services (AIS) status will be published before 1 January 2023.

Importing fruit and vegetables from the EU to NI

There will be no change to the marketing standards requirements for importing fruit and vegetables to Northern Ireland (NI) from the EU.

Moving fruit and vegetables from NI to GB

There is no change to the requirements for moving fruit and vegetables to GB from NI.

Exporting fruit and vegetables from the UK to the EU

The UK is no longer a member of the EU and from 1 January 2021 will be classed as a third country.

Exporting fruit and vegetables from GB to the EU

You should prepare for the third country import requirements in the EU marketing standards regulations if you export fruit and vegetables from GB to the EU from 1 January 2021.

The UK has applied to the EU for Approved Inspection Service status.

Approved Trader Scheme (ATS)

Approved trader status means you’re identified as lower risk and will receive fewer inspections.

You can get approved trader status if:

  • you’re a grower, packer, import or exporter
  • your business consistently meets marketing standards requirements

If you’re part of the Approved Trader Scheme in GB, you must remove the EU emblem from your UK food labels and use the replacement GB label from 1 January 2021. You should only sell your existing stock with the EU emblem in GB, until it runs out.

The GB label must contain the following:

  • ‘Marketing standard for fresh fruit and vegetables’
  • number of the approved trader
  • ‘Great Britain’ or ‘GB’
GB Approved Trader Scheme label

GB Approved Trader Scheme label

For more information about ATS, contact:

If you’re part of the Approved Trader Scheme in NI, you can continue to use the EU Approved Trader Scheme label.

When you need a GB certificate of conformity

You’ll need to apply for a GB-issued certificate of conformity to clear GB customs if you export fruit and vegetables subject to Specific Marketing Standards (SMS) from GB to the EU.

SMS products include:

  • apples
  • citrus fruit (lemons, oranges, clementines, mandarins, satsumas and their hybrids)
  • kiwi fruit
  • peaches and nectarines
  • pears
  • strawberries
  • table grapes
  • lettuces (including curly and broad-leaved endives)
  • sweet peppers
  • tomatoes

To apply for a GB-issued certificate of conformity:

You will not need a certificate of conformity for your produce to clear GB customs if you export fruit and vegetables subject to General Marketing Standards (GMS) to the EU.

Some EU countries may require a certificate of conformity for some produce subject to GMS.

Contact the appropriate authority at the destination country to find out:

  • whether your produce will require a certificate of conformity
  • how to get a certificate

Exporting fruit and vegetables from NI to the EU

There will be no change to the marketing standards requirements for exporting fruit and vegetables from NI to the EU.

Moving fruit and vegetables from GB to NI

Fruit and vegetables moved from GB to NI will need to enter through designated points of entry and meet EU import marketing standards requirements. Further information on these checks and controls, and their frequency, will provided when available.

For more information read guidance on Moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.

Importing and exporting between the UK and non-EU countries

There will be no changes to existing UK marketing standards processes for:

  • importing fruit and vegetables directly from non-EU countries to the UK
  • exporting fruit and vegetables directly from the UK to non-EU countries

If you import fruit and vegetables into the UK from a non-EU country and a proportion of your consignment is re-exported to the EU, your consignment will need to undergo both import and export processes.

Importing from a non-EU country via the EU to the UK

Horticultural inspectors will continue to assess fruit and vegetables travelling in transit from non-EU countries through the EU to the UK to:

  • determine whether an inspection is required at the border
  • ensure that they comply with the UK’s marketing standards

For produce regulated by both marketing standards and plant health regulations, checks may be carried out by both the:

  • Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate (HMI)
  • Plant Health and Seed Inspectorate (PHSI) (for England and Wales only).

In Scotland, all inspections are carried out by Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).

Most marketing standards checks will continue to be carried out at the border, but in some cases, PHSI will check produce at inland plant health facilities.

High risk goods

If produce is regulated by both marketing standards and plant health, multiple inspections will only be carried out for imports to the UK that are assessed as being very high risk.

Very high risk goods include imports that meet the “high risk” criteria and originate from high risk countries.

Certificate of conformity

The UK will continue to accept certificates of conformity issued by countries in the Approved Inspection Scheme (AIS). Most imports from countries on the AIS scheme will not require routine marketing standards checks, but a small sample will be randomly selected for inspections.

This guidance is subject to Parliamentary process and agreement with the devolved administrations.

Published 14 October 2020
Last updated 11 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. Imports from the EU to GB do not require an EU-issued Certificate of Conformity before they're released into free circulation in GB.

  2. Updated information about importing and exporting fresh fruit and vegetables between the UK and EU and non-EU countries.

  3. First published.