A list of key retailer concerns with the UK’s newly-implemented Track and Trace system for tobacco products has been raised with the European Commission (EC).
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), with the support of Independent Retail Europe, highlighted the concerns ahead of a meeting of the EC Tobacco Control Subgroup on Traceability and Security Features.
The ACS said it hoped that the subgroup would be able to support retailers by providing clarity on a number of troubling aspects of the regulations, which were still left open to interpretation.
Concerns surround requirements with scanning and recording the movement and sale of tobacco, including: problems with the appeals process for claiming compensation; operational disruption due to the time required to scan and record tobacco; lack of clarity on requirements to record the sale of tobacco; and ambiguity around escalation or notification processes if the system goes offline.
Earlier this week, the ACS and the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) wrote to the Exchequer Secretary asking for urgent answers to a number of other “serious concerns” over a range of “unaddressed” Track and Trace issues.
The issues, raised with HMRC in a letter to officials on 30 September, which has still not been answered, include a range of technical problems with the software required for the system, confusion over how tobacco theft is handled in the system, and significant operational difficulties experienced by wholesalers.
The Track and Trace regulations introduced in May require all retailers who sell tobacco to apply for both economic operator and facility identifier codes.