British Meat Processors Association
British Meat Processors Association
Letter from Defra to BMPA

Frustrating Lack of Progress by Defra and FSA on Post-Brexit Health & Identification Marks

BMPA has been in personal contact with Michael Gove on behalf of the British Meat Industry to express concerns over the lack of progress made on post-Brexit Health and Identification Marks.

If we leave the EU without a deal on 29 March, the EU Health Mark we currently use on all exported meat products will cease to be valid and will need replacing with a new, UK version that is recognised by both EU and other third countries.

As of the time of writing, Defra and the FSA have still not clarified what that mark should be. More worryingly there has been confusion over exactly what is proposed and what has been discussed or agreed to by the European Commission.

It’s become evident that there is a lack of understanding amongst Defra officials of the finer technical implications surrounding Health Marks and of the un foreseen consequences of getting it wrong.

We should stress that, although Mister Gove has stated in his letter that decisions have been made and that industry should plan to operate according to their guidance. BMPA is still in the process of challenging those decisions.

At the time of writing, there is no agreement on what stamp to use and, until that agreement has been reached, the polypropylene stamps needed to put health marks onto carcasses cannot be produced. It is therefore likely that sufficient stamps will not be available should we leave without a deal on 29March.

It’s become evident that there is a lack of understanding amongst Defra officials of the finer technical implications surrounding Health Marks and of the un foreseen consequences of getting it wrong.

Meat exporters are already finding that orders that would have been due for delivery post 29 March are being cancelled because there is no certainty around whether goods shipped now will still be acceptable under whatever new system exists after Brexit.

Furthermore, the Chief Veterinary Officer must, as a matter of urgency, start to inform trading partners of what Health and Identification Marks will be used post Brexit so they can prepare to continue trading with us. At the moment, what she tells them could turn out to be entirely wrong. Rowing back from that will cause further confusion and disruption and reflect badly on the UK as a reliable trading partner.

Rest assured, BMPA will be maintaining the pressure on Defra to resolve this as quickly as possible because every day this drags on now represents an erosion of trading power for our meat industry companies.

We will keep you informed of progress via emails to our subscribers and Twitter updates. If you’re not already subscribed to our mailing list, you can join below.

About BMPA

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) is the leading trade association for the meat and meat products industry in the UK.

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