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Horticultural Marketing

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The RPA Inspectorate, are responsible for the enforcement of the EU Marketing Standards for fresh fruit, vegetables, salad crops, nuts and cultivated mushrooms, throughout England and Wales, wherever fresh produce is grown, imported, exported, bought or sold.

HMI Import Enforcement Policy Statement

Notice in respect of breaches of clauses 4(5) & (8) of Statutory Instrument 09/1361 and in breaches of clause 4(a) and (f) of the Statutory Instrument for Green Bananas 12/947 - Notably the provision of inaccurate or false information in respect of an Import of Fresh horticultural produce subject to the Marketing Standards into England and Wales.

This statement sets out both the background of HMI policy in respect to Imports and defines the Policy, to come into immediate effect.

It is an offence under the above S.I.'s to fail to provide information or to provide false or inaccurate information in respect of an Import of fresh produce subject to the Marketing Standards.

The Rural Payment Agency, Horticultural Marketing Inspections Branch uses the PEACH system to enable Importers and Agents to notify HMI of consignments subject to the EU Marketing Standards which are being imported into England and Wales. This system uses an Import Risk Assessment System (IRAS) developed with full collaboration and support of the fresh produce industry, to establish the potential risk of any consignment failing to meet the Marketing Standards. This system has been in place in various iterations since 2005.

In addition, the UK has embraced additional regulatory initiatives concerning the importation of fresh produce, by limiting statutory notification to Specific marketing products only and not extending these notification requirements to General marketing products, (as has been adopted in the majority of other Community member states), other than a randomly selected 1% sample selected for examination and inspection through the HMRC CHIEF system.

In addition, through working with HMRC, the Automated License Verification System (ALVS) now also allows for a considerably quicker release of consignments once they have been deemed to meet the standards.

Having identified and embraced deregulation within these import procedures and with the industry reaping the economic benefits that this brings in terms of speed of clearance and movement of perishable commodities together with a reduction in administrative “red tape”, it is important to recognise that strong and robust import enforcement procedures must be in place. These should be monitored and policed effectively to safeguard law abiding and compliant Importers and Agents against the activities of a very small minority in the industry seeking to gain advantage from fraudulent and unlawful activity.

In short, it is essential that there is a uniform and consistent approach to the assessment of Risk and the notification of fresh produce imports and to ensure that all persons importing such goods are treated equally. Where any person seeks to escape these controls they should not gain any commercial advantage from doing so and where the evasion is discovered and can be proved, that the evader and / or their company should face appropriate penalties as laid down.

To this end, the HMI and Defra have together developed an Import enforcement policy set out in the statement attached which looks to reinforce their commitment to identify and potentially prosecute any individual or company that makes a persistent or deliberate breach of the import rules as outlined with Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 543/2011 and 1333/2011.

The use of criminal prosecution will be used as an exemplary demonstration of the HMI’s commitment to enforce the Community marketing rules at every stage of the fresh produce distribution chain, this includes at import point.

Import enforcment statement.pdf

Our staff are here to help, and are committed to providing good customer service. We will treat you with respect, and expect you to do the same.

We will not tolerate threatening or abusive behaviour towards our staff, either verbally, physically or in writing, and will take whatever action is necessary (including legal action) against any person who is involved in threatening or abusive behaviour.

Our staff carry devices that can monitor and record abusive behaviour. They can summon support services and the recordings may be used in court proceedings.

If you have any enquiries about the work of the Horticultural Marketing Inspectors or the marketing standards contact us on 0845 607 3224 or email

Page published: 5 July 2013