From the end of 2023, it will be mandatory to send a phytosanitary certificate when exporting fruit and vegetables to the UK. The products must be physically checked for this and meet the applicable phytosanitary requirements for issuing the certificate. In collaboration with Quality Produce International, Marni Fruit and Growers United, JEM-id has started research into new developments in the fruit and vegetable software package GreenCommerce. Several specific developments have emerged from this research that ensure that fresh food companies are well prepared for the next Brexit phase.
Situation sketch: the next Brexit phase
Phytosanitary requirements are the requirements of a particular country for imported products (in this case fruit and vegetables) with regard to plant diseases and pests. When importing into the United Kingdom (UK), phytosanitary documents, including the associated inspections, are mandatory. A phytosanitary inspection can be requested via e-CertNL, after which the shipment will be assessed by the Quality Control Bureau (KCB) at the specified location. If goods do not meet the phytosanitary requirements of the country of destination, they may not be exported. This can have an impact on the logistics process, where parts of a shipment cannot be delivered or where it is possible to replace them for others, for which control is again required.
“The mandatory, new legislation has a huge impact on the day-to-day operational performance of export companies, logistics service providers, but also KCB,” begins Berry van Zijp, implementation specialist at JEM-id and expert on Brexit: “In early 2018, we are ahead GreenCommerce started with Brexit-specific developments to offer our customers the smoothest possible transition, because Brexit has been postponed several times, it also seemed that it was in a hurry to prepare, now it seems to be much more urgent. “because companies have already seen the impact that Brexit has on business operations. Good and timely preparation is crucial.”
Anita Kuiper, Quality Manager at Marni Fruit, continues: “The introduction has now been postponed to 2023, but automation of this whole process was definitely a must. This will create an extra workload for the inspector, who will soon have to carry out phyto-inspections in addition to quality inspections. ”
The UK is a major selling point for Marni Fruit. “When we started preparing for the recognition in early February, it turned out that this topic was already getting the necessary attention with JEM-id. As a result, the rest of the process went very smoothly. Thanks to good communication with Berry, we were kept informed of the various developments that were planned. This allowed us to contribute ideas at an early stage and some additions to the planned development were made at our request. This was followed by a clear demo with explanation. We also found it cozy, ”says Anita.
JEM ID development
Due to the new phytosanitary requirements from the UK, the number of inspection applications and issuance of certificates will increase enormously. The whole sector feared long processing times due to capacity problems, especially during peak times. To be at the forefront of the expected problems, a company recognition system has been developed as a solution from a broad working group with representation from KCB, VGB / VBN, GFH & NVWA with the aim of being able and allowed to perform phytosanitary checks. NVWA and KCB will maintain their supervisory role and the supervision of the issuance of certificates. This company approval system is linked to a number of conditions that fruit and vegetable companies must meet before they are allowed to carry out a phytosanitary inspection independently.
To support these companies, JEM-id has added new developments in the GreenCommerce fruit and vegetable software package in collaboration with customers. Within GreenCommerce, it has become possible, among other things, to register a party’s plant health status. This can be used to indicate whether a batch meets the requirements. Changes in plant status can be found in the log, to which notes can also be added. This way, important information can always be found in GreenCommerce.
With a sales order, it can be stated whether it is a question of plant health control. On the basis of this property, further checks can be made on the allotted grounds. The standard provision (check or no check) will be based on the country of destination, with the possibility to exclude specific items if this becomes relevant.
It is included in the company recognition system that KCB can select random shipments for a random check. This has also been developed in GreenCommerce so that shipments are not shipped as long as they have not yet been released.
Registration of phytoinspections in the QC app
The new phytosanitary controls also have implications for the inspection process of fresh produce companies exporting to the UK. To prepare companies for these controls, new functionalities have been added to the Quality Control (QC) app associated with GreenCommerce. This makes it possible to perform plant inspections in the application in addition to the existing quality checks. For example, from now on, authorized quality staff can indicate a plant status with the batch (s) inspected.
When creating a new inspection template in the QC app, quality staff can distinguish between quality inspection and phyto-inspection templates. Within this template, they may include additional rules relating to phytoinspection.
Anita concludes: “We will register the phyto-inspections via the QC app. We will soon be able to indicate per customer via GreenCommerce whether a mandatory phyto-check must be performed on the lot. The blockades for loading in the event of a random check from KCB have also been arranged via GreenCommerce. ”
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