Brexit rule change threatens British meat exports to EU


Post-Brexit rule modifications on animal well being checks may devastate the UK meat sector, farming and processing trade leaders have warned.

From 13 December, Defra will impose guidelines requiring common vet visits to farms to certify they’re export compliant.

Meat trade bosses say the the additional crimson tape isn’t demanded by the EU, which merely requires a declaration by the farm that it meets animal well being requirements.

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The transfer may see British meat exports turn into non-compliant in a single day, in accordance with a coalition of 14 farm and meat sector our bodies in an indignant letter to Defra.

One of the signatories, the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), branded the foundations as “one more shot within the foot for the British financial system”.

With 72% of meat exports going to the EU, the crimson tape would have massive unintended penalties for farmers, processors and customers alike, a BMPA spokesman warned.

“If Defra plough forward with it, many farmers shall be devastated and meals costs will rise,” the BMPA stated.

“Meeting the necessities would take over a 12 months to implement, however we’ve got lower than seven weeks to make the modifications.”

Labour disaster

The forthright letter additionally highlighted that the quick timescale got here amid a labour disaster which has hit the veterinary sector.

It said: “Not solely is that this [legislation] not required by the EU, however given the present scarcity of vets and the sheer variety of farms that will should be visited afresh, we estimate it could take many months to implement.”

The letter stated the problem was completely avoidable and would depart UK meat exports non-compliant from 1000’s of farms that weren’t accredited with Red Tractor, Quality Meat Scotland or Farm Assured Welsh Livestock schemes.

Farms that aren’t assured must show common vet visits had taken place to acquire an export well being certificates (EHC).

Ultimately, the self-imposed guidelines would add prices for farms, public sale markets and meat processors, fuelling meals worth inflation, the letter stated.

“The UK meat trade is now confronted with an on the spot lack of a good portion of its EU export market in a single day for no different motive than Defra’s determination so as to add an additional layer of paperwork, however with no time to implement it.

“Far from lowering crimson tape as this authorities goals to do, this plan will add much more and price British producers expensive,” it claimed.

NPA response

National Pig Association chief coverage adviser Rebecca Veale stated that, whereas most pork was from assured farms, the lack of veterinary time would have a knock-on impact on pig farms.

Responding to the letter, a Defra spokesman stated: “We are conscious of the considerations raised by trade in regards to the strategy of offering proof of standard vet visits.

“We are partaking with companies and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to attempt to ease the burden on exporters in assembly the EU necessities.”

Letter signatories embody:

  • Association of Independent Meat Suppliers
  • British Cattle Veterinary Association
  • British Poultry Association
  • British Pig Association
  • British Meat Processing Association
  • International Meat Trade Association
  • Livestock Auctioneers’ Association
  • NFU
  • NFU Cymru
  • NFU Scotland
  • National Pig Association
  • National Sheep Association
  • Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers
  • Sheep Veterinary Society

The letter is obtainable to learn in full on the BMPA web site.