British meat producers are concerned that they could be banned from exporting sausages to EU countries after Brexit.
Currently, farmers and meat manufacturers require a certificate to sell animal products - but this does not exist for ‘meat preparation’ products. The certificate means that when anything is added to meat brought in from outside the EU, it is subject to strict regulations.
Lose out on European trade
Members of the industry are worried that, unless Britain can negotiate an exemption before the transition period ends in December this year, they could lose out on European trade.
David Lindars, the Technical Operations Director of the British Meat Processors Association, spoke out on behalf of farmers and manufacturers.
He said meat producers could send the products frozen but that would be far too costly for many businesses, calling on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to act.
According to The Times, that means around £17 million worth of sausage meat, uncooked burgers and other products including mince could be blocked at the border. Unless the EU grants a unilateral concession, that is.
Pragmatic deal needed
Andrew Opie, Director of Food & Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said, "The Protocol on NI/RoI means Northern Ireland will align to EU food regulations.
"Without a comprehensive new trade deal, this will involve the same food hygiene checks on goods arriving from Great Britain as are currently applied by the EU to Third Countries.
"Beyond the transition period this could present significant problems for retailers supplying stores in Northern Ireland, not least from the burden of extra paperwork and red tape required with every truck."
"In some cases, such as sausages and fresh beef mince, there are no Export Health Certificate (EHC) categories for the necessary paperwork, this is because the EU does not currently import these goods from outside of the EU/UK.
"When the EU becomes a Third Country on 1st January 2021, suppliers in Great Britain may not be able to transit these goods to NI unless the EU creates the necessary EHC categories.
"That’s why we need a pragmatic deal on border controls in our trade negotiations with the EU, which would apply throughout the UK."
The United Kingdom entered a transition period on 31 January 2020 and is due to fully depart the European Union on 31 December.