An apple, a tomato and a strawberry deemed to be potentially hazardous, according to the dunderheads of Defra.
Perhaps they took the 1980s film, The Revenge of the Killer Tomatoes, too seriously.
I have brought into the studio the most dangerous things according to them, that I think I’ve ever brought into a TV studio.
In a protectionist move to put up prices and damage Brexit, looney officials have raised the risk rating of these and other imported fruit and vegetables.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has blasted an act of ‘self sabotage’
This is matters because roughly half of the food we eat in the UK, and nearly two thirds of that comes from the European Union.
Since we left the EU, which was four years ago this week, the Government has taken the decision not to impose trade checks on goods coming in from the bloc. Why?
Because they’re safe. They’re not dangerous. This is an apple, not a hand grenade.
But as an ITV report has revealed from this week, the government will begin superfluous checks on food coming from the EU which will cost £200 million extra for imports.
And these checks create three tiers of food based risk, low, medium and high.
Apples were low until last week and are now deemed as medium.
Jacob Rees-Mogg says Boris Johnson supported his opposition to Defra’s proposals
And foods such as milk, cheese, fish, as well as livestock will be classified according to these risks. And if they’re medium or above, will need health certificates.
And it’s these health certificates which impose costs on suppliers, which then get passed on to you, the consumer.
But the Government doesn’t need to do this. As I’ve said, we’ve not had these checks for the past four years because these foods are safe. So why implement them now?
Indeed, the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture, Rural Affairs, Defra, told this program in a statement: ‘We are committed to delivering the most advanced border in the world. The border target operating model is key to delivering this, protecting the UK’s bio security from potentially harmful pests and diseases, and maintaining trust in our exports.’
Jacob Rees-Mogg says items like tomatoes could be deemed hazardous
But that isn’t ready yet. We need to have that ready and then apply it globally because we don’t need these checks to protect our bio security.
The one thing we know about the EU is that it over regulates and its standards are very high.
We don’t need any worries about the EU sending us things that haven’t been regulated within an inch of their lives, and we’ve been accepting these goods from the EU over recent decades perfectly safely.
When these checks will have the biggest impact on small traders and small consignments, so they’ll reduce choice whilst putting up costs.
The big suppliers will be able to cover the new costs, but smaller suppliers will find it makes them less competitive. So we’ll make produce more expensive and reduce the range available to consumers.
It is simply an act of self sabotage. And when I was in Government, Defra wanted to do all this and I opposed it vigorously and had great support from Boris Johnson and Liz Truss and we stopped them in spite of hysterical claims from Defra.
But it’s this department that is pushing for this protectionist agenda. When we voted to leave the European Union, we didn’t vote to become a miniature European Union, but that’s what these checks are, an emulation of the EU’s protectionist agenda.
We voted for a more innovative and dynamic economy and that’s the solution. A digitised trade border system that streamlines the checks that are necessary but minimising checks for what is really needed.
And the technology is being developed as we speak and is set for information this year.
But with it, we need to drop the paranoid risk about instincts and not the dynamism, innovation and free trade, not just with the EU but globally.