The general customs regimes apply in the area of food products, live animals and plants. However, significant additional requirements apply.
There are common EU standards on all aspects of farming ‘from farm to fork” with a view to ensuring food safety. This includes detailed regulations in relation to ingredients, residues, pesticides genetically modified food, wrappers, composition and labelling.
There are detailed standards on animal breeding, health, welfare, transportation disease control slaughtering, identification and official veterinarian controls on food products of animal origin. Broadly similar provisions apply in respect of fish products and plants.
The basic EU principle is that food and animal products must come from approved establishments and be the subject of specific checks at the border. In the case of live animals, veterinary inspections are necessary and certifications are required. Many fruit and vegetable products require phytosanitary certification at the point of entry into the EU
Foodstuffs, animals and plants are subject to rigorous and systematic control in almost all circumstances when they enter the EU. Some lesser controls already exist even in trade within the EU at present from a food safety perspective.
After Brexit, all animal, vegetable and foodstuffs will become subject to a significantly more rigourous regime of checks unless some relieving measures are agreed between the EU and UK.
Imports and exports from the EU are also subject to control for the purpose of maintenance of the residual elements of price support still remaining under the Common Agricultural Policy. Imports are subject to levies in some cases and exports are subject to subsidies, all of which are collected through the customs procedure.