A German food importer has persuaded the European Court of Justice to block a demand by the European Commission to pay duties owed after fraudsters abused EU transit rules to sell its poultry on the black market. Brussels had investigated complaints that Food Trading’s imported poultry was being sold very cheaply in Germany and discovered consignments officially destined for the Canary Islands had been diverted by corrupt employees. Under EU transit rules, duty is payable to the destination country, but the poultry never arrived in Spain, with officials being fooled by false transit documents. The company successfully claimed that Brussels’ application for duty contained legal errors.

By Keith Nuthall, just-food.com correspondent