Tonnes of rotting meat is stuck at European ports as a result of “eye-watering” post-Brexit paperwork, UK meat industry leaders have told PoliticsHome – including a lorry carrying British pork that has been stuck in Holland since 1 January.
Meat exporters to the EU are encountering similar issues to those experienced by fish traders since the end of the Brexit transition period. They have seen lengthy new customs and health checks, customers cancelling orders, and meat having to be destroyed before reaching the continent as it’s no longer fresh.
Zoe Davies from the National Pig Association said that pig heads, which are exported from the UK to European buyers to make products like sausages and pâté, have been stuck at Rotterdam port for weeks due to Dutch authorities demanding that that they be tested for disease.
“It’s eye-watering what our members have to do,” she told PoliticsHome. “And it is going to be an ongoing issue that gets worse as more and more people decide to export to the EU.”
David Lindars from the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said that over 120 lorries carrying British meat were sat at Rotterdam port in the south of Holland, including one transporting pork which had been stuck there for nearly three weeks since 1 January.
“This is food that is sold and then cannot reach its destination due to clerical bureaucracy and the misunderstanding of the rules we [the UK] and they [the EU] are operating to,” he said.
“All paperwork is checked for 100% of products entering the EU and the number of issues raised at the border control posts determine whether a truck is held for hours, days, or even weeks. There are huge issues with a system that is fundamentally not designed for a short shelf-life food.”
Most of the delayed meat will have to be destroyed and dumped on landfill, which is set to cost traders hundreds of thousands of pounds, Lindars warned.
He added that there was no reason why the meat industry shouldn’t receive financial help from government, in a sign that Boris Johnson will in the coming days face pressure to compensate even more businesses adversely affected by leaving the EU’s single market and customs union.
“The Scottish fishermen are going to get compensated as an industry. What have we been offered so far? Nothing. Exporters will have to pay for disposal cost, so there’ll be another bill coming,” Lindars said . . . . .
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