BMPA updates, as they happen, on developing issues in the meat industry.
Contains links to member only content.
11 hrs ago
The presenters of Blue Peter caused controversy this week following their calls for children to give up meat in order to save the planet. Those with a more nuanced understanding of the issue know that this kind of blanket recommendation fails to take into account how meat is produced and the (very) different carbon footprints of British meat versus that produced elsewhere in the world.
Such was the backlash from farmers, industry and nutrition experts that the BBC was forced to climb down from these calls. In a statement, they said: “We are not asking Blue Peter viewers to give up meat” adding that “the British red meat industry… is amongst the most sustainable in the world and supports the livelihoods of thousands of people.” It also went on to say that “buying seasonal food or local grass-fed meat can also make a difference to climate change.”
1 day ago
We heard Hilary Benn speaking on Farming Today this morning (Tuesday 13 April) about the newly formed UK Trade & Business Commission and were encouraged by his suggestion that Government particularly need to listen to food exporters to get a true picture of trade disruption to fresh food exports.
The new Commission, which includes cross-party MPs and business leaders has pledged to “work together in the national interest to assess impacts on UK businesses and consumers of international trade deals and Government policy. It will make recommendations to the UK Government”. There is an open invitation to businesses to submit written evidence on their new website.
1 day ago
The disparity across the devolved nations has been brought into sharp relief recently after the Scottish and Irish Governments introduced support packages to ease covid-19 related losses that are putting pressure on pig producers. This problem is occurring across the whole of the UK but, so far, only the Scots and Northern Irish Governments have stepped up with support measures.
Those producers based in England who remain un-supported continue to press for fair and equal treatment across the whole of the UK.
In an opinion piece for this week’s Farmers Weekly, Nick Allen explores a question that many in the industry are now asking: Has the creation of AHDB by merging the different levy boards into one organisation delivered better outcomes than when those sectors were left to create their own strategies and make their own decisions? Or, has it resulted in the creation of an ineffective and costly bureaucracy? His answer pulls no punches.
DAERA has published new guidance for moving SPS Goods from GB to NI through Groupage. It provides an overview of the checks required on all SPS eligible goods and sets out details of each of the delivery models for groupage. It also contains practical advice on the steps that can be taken to ensure compliance and helpful tips for sealing and loading groupage consignments to minimise delays at NI Points of Entry.
This is a timely reminder that all consignments of non-EU Products of Animal Origin (POAO) for human consumption imported into Great Britain that were dispatched on or after 8 April are required to arrive at a point of entry with a designated Border Control Post (BCP) for that commodity. This includes POAO goods that have moved in transit across the EU, as Defra will not recognise EU BCP checks on those consignments.
Consignments that have left the point of origin prior to 8 April can continue to arrive at any point of entry in to GB, provided they have been subject to checks at their first point of entry to the EU and can provide evidence of clearance.
Following the publication of BMPA’s Brexit Impact Report, the independent research group on UK-EU relations, UK in a Changing Europe, published a commentary by Nick Allen exploring the meat export system post-Brexit, what’s gone wrong and, importantly, what it would take to fix it.
DEFRA recognises that the loss of groupage has been damaging to exports so it is offering to work with hauliers and exporters to see what the practical options are for hauliers to establish meat export hubs. The idea is that groupage consignments could be consolidated, certified and transported to the EU, with the transport company carrying out the EU import processes for the entire load.
It is not clear how practical this would be for the meat sector given the far more complex animal health requirements but we’d like to encourage meat companies to come forward with feedback and ideas so we can arrange a meeting with Defra to take this further. They want to hear what we have to say and we shouldn’t pass-up this opportunity. You can contact us here.
Our Trade Policy Advisor, Peter Hardwick has written about the Brexit impacts on the British meat industry during the first 100 days of 2021. The numbers don’t lie, but they do make for uncomfortable reading.
To complement the European Green Deal and the European Commission’s (EC) Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies, the EC has published an action plan for the development of organic production which aims to boost the production and consumption of organic products so that it reaches 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030. It cites the benefits of higher animal welfare and fewer antibiotics entering the food chain. It also claims that organic fields have around 30% more biodiversity; and organic farmers have higher and more resilient incomes.
The EC is encouraging Member States to develop their own organic production action plans and suggests promoting consumer demand and consumption of organic produce through a number of measures, including “stimulating a greater use of organics in public canteens through public procurement and increasing the distribution of organic products under the EU school scheme.”
A new amendment to the Meat Preparations Regulations has come into force on 30 March. It extends the temporary removal of the requirement for meat preparations imported from the European Economic Area (EEA) into England to be deep frozen to a temperature of minus 18 degrees until 30 September 2021 (it was originally due to expire on 31 March). The continued temporary removal of this requirement is intended to bring policy in line with the revised timetable for the phased introduction of import controls on goods arriving from the EEA. This will provide a consistent approach towards imports and should reduce disruption for businesses. The Government argues that this approach presents a low biosecurity risk for the UK.
Nick Allen spoke to Phelim O’Neill on the Irish Farmers’ Journal Podcast last week to elaborate on the trading difficulties faced by British meat companies that we highlighted in our recent Brexit Impact Report. The discussion with Phelim O’Neill is well worth a listen.
Following the BMPA’s Brexit Impact Report, published last week, the BBC’s Dharshini David reports on the state of trade three months on from the end of the Transition Period. The report has gone out over several BBC programmes including the Midday TV news and The Today Programme (listen from 17:47 minutes).
All products of animal origin must go through the orange channel at border control posts (BCPs). BMPA has heard of a couple of consignments that have gone through the green channel which, on arrival at their destination, have been told to travel all the way back to the BCP.
Responding to feedback from industry, Government has announced that employers will now be able to offer their employees regular free rapid testing that can be taken from home. This model will be open to businesses in England with over 10 employees where it is not feasible for an asymptomatic testing site to be set up.
From 6 April, businesses across the country will be eligible to order the home test kits online to distribute to their employees. These self-test kits will be picked up by staff from their employer with clear instructions about how to take the test. To receive tests free of charge until 30 June, you must register by 12 April 2021.
Friday’s Farming Today program features several interesting segments on the current state of trade including Nick Allen’s interview in which he explained what’s behind the ongoing drop in pig meat exports to China (from 9:34 Minutes) and the impact it’s having on some of Britain’s biggest processors.
Also worth a listen is an interview with Tim Finney, Director at Helen Browning’s Sausages (from 6:15 minutes) whose no-nonsense description of the new red tape and extra costs to send their products to the EU perfectly illustrate the points we’ve been making in our recently published Brexit Impact Report.
Peter Hardwick, Trade Policy Advisor at BMPA appeared before the Department for International Trade Committee to give evidence in their Trade Negotiations Inquiry on method of production food labelling. He explains that the challenge facing the industry around introducing a successful labelling system to provide consumers with information to make informed choices is how this is done: Who agrees the standards and how do we define them?
We’re very pleased to announce that Nan Jones has joined BMPA as our new Technical Policy Manager. Having graduated with a BSc 2.1 class Honours in Food Nutrition and Well-being from Harper Adams University she went on to gain experience at Halen Mon working with its Research and Marketing team.
She moves to BMPA from her previous role at Dunbia where she has been working at the Llanebydder site in Operations and then on to the site at Treburly in the Technical team as part of the Graduate Scheme. Nan has also grown up in the Red Meat industry with her father running a family butchers that they have owned for five generations.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee questioned the Defra Secretary, George Eustice, yesterday in the last oral evidence session of its inquiry into seafood and meat exports to the EU. In addition to exploring the problems exporters faced following the end of the EU-UK transition period, the Committee focussed on continuing problems with health certificates and the deferred introduction of UK certification and checks at the border of EU imports of seafood and meat for a further 6 months, including the implications of this postponement for food safety in the UK.
Published on Wednesday, BMPA’s new Brexit Impact Report highlights the difference between ‘teething problems’ and systemic issues that British meat companies are now facing with exports to their EU customers. It sets out, from first hand reports, the extra costs and loss of trade the new system is causing.
In parallel with this week’s House of Lords Committee report which supports what we’re saying, this Brexit Impact Report has garnered much press and Government attention and has sparked a fierce reaction from groups, companies and individuals across social media who’ve had their eyes open to the convoluted and expensive red tape involved in getting ‘pork chops to Paris’ illustrated in the report.
But, we haven’t simply enumerated the problems. We’ve also laid out what it would take to fix these issues. It requires concerted Government support and engagement, and BMPA and its members stand ready to help.
Latest statistics show that issues with pre-notification and customs agents have been the main cause of delays recently. Exporters need to liaise directly with their importers and import agents to ensure they are doing their part of the process correctly. Common problems at Border Control Posts include no customs agent or operator responsible for the consignment, incorrect pre-notification information and no or incorrectly completed Export Health Certificate.
HMRC has recently updated it’s list of customs intermediaries to help traders deal with these issues. Government has also extended the period in which traders wo do not have a fixed place of business in Northern Ireland can declare their goods ‘not at risk’ until 1 November.
On 31 March AHDB will host a webinar to discuss Brexit and the red meat trade: the reality three months on. With speakers from Great Britain, the EU and Ireland will be a broad discussion of what’s happened and what’s in store for the future. It will also be a chance to air any outstanding issues that have not yet been covered.
Following on from 2019’s research into Trust and Transparency in the British food system, AHDB look at how consumer attitudes have evolved over 2020 in the wake of coronavirus. They explore how important the environment is to consumers in the UK, and look at farming’s relative position on environmental issues.
A new AHDB report seeks to cut through the speculation surrounding what a US/UK trade deal could mean for UK food and farming. It covers the questions over standards, trade negotiations, competitiveness and what farmers and processors need to do to prepare. It also describes why the UK may not be flooded with cheap food.
This week, the EFRA Committee will question George Eustice, David Kennedy (DEFRA) and Ian Hewett, Director of Operations at APHA on the issues that meat and seafood businesses are encountering at the borders. The session starts at 2:30pm on Thursday 25 March.
FABRA UK have prepared a series of factsheets covering various aspects related to Animal By-products. They cover everything from biosecurity, recycling and regulatory controls to outlets for animal by-products and future policy on waste.
The Guardian reported this week on a game-changing study that’s been ongoing at the University of California, Davis and the World Food Centre to find ways to reduce the environmental footprint of cattle. The simple addition of a small amount of seaweed in their feed meant that cows in the study emitted a staggering 82% less methane. The study has also demonstrated that this reduction can be sustained over longer periods, and that the efficacy of this diet doesn’t diminish over time. This has to be one of the most compelling break-throughs we’ve seen in the drive towards more sustainable and planet-friendly food production.
A new report commissioned by the Food Standards Agency shows that, during the pandemic, British people have re-connected with fresh, locally-produced food and are doing much more healthy cooking from scratch. There’s also strong support to maintain current British food and animal welfare standards even if that means paying a little extra.
This is one of the more heartening by-products of the pandemic and something we should nurture to ensure the health of the nation is bolstered by a wider move towards fresh fruit, vegetables and meat produced to high British standards.
Campden BRI is looking for partners to help with new research that aims to revise established standards in order to improve the sustainability of red meat products. It could save producers and retailers millions of pounds in wasted food by updating specifications to reflect current meat production.
The research will begin in April and run for a year. It will involve suppliers and retailers from across the red meat sector providing a range of products for testing. Any companies wanting to take part in the research should contact Campden BRI Microbiologist Greg Jones.
The online Trader Showcase site that you’ve been using to find out about the new rules for moving goods to Northern Ireland and exporting to the EU has been migrated to two new locations, which you can access by using the links below. It’s been developed using Dropbox Paper for which you’ll need a free account to access it.
There are changes to EU law which apply from April 2021 that will impact on traders who export certain products of animal origin, including some composite products. Export Health Certificates (EHCs) will need to be updated to reflect the new rules, and you will need to follow these new rules to be able to continue to send goods to the EU and Northern Ireland.
Defra will be rolling out the new composite EHCs from 21 April 2021, which will be available online from April 1. Note that there will be a potential increase in the number of composite products that require an EHC. After that, it will introduce the remaining new EHCs for animal products as needed by August 2021. Defra is currently developing guidance for businesses and will shortly issue more detailed information including webinars.
The Association of Labour Providers and the Home Office have collaborated to produce a free, practical, comprehensive handbook to help employers to understand the new immigration system. It will help you ensure compliance with right to work legislation both in respect of existing workers and new applicants to determine what actions to take to help secure continuity of labour supply.
In a statement in Parliament Lord Frost set out the new timeline for the introduction of border control processes on import of Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods from the EU. You can read the full statement below but there is also a useful infographic (PDF) that visually explains the timetable.
We’ve been hearing reports of companies being refused entry by the Rotterdam Border Control Post (BCP) due to one of their approvals for “meat preparation establishment” not being listed on the official listing for EU exports. We would strongly advise that companies check their listing on the official document that the BCP’s are using. If your site is not listed for the type of goods/categories to be produced at that site, or if the information on the list has not been recorded correctly, entry at the BCP will be refused.
Membership organisation Meat Business Women has launched a new global mentoring programme that will enable women in the meat industry to connect with peers around the world. This sharing of ideas and experience by individuals across multiple countries, systems and companies will inject an interesting new dynamic into the global meat industry. It’s a unique forum that will prove transformational for individuals and the companies they work for alike.
Membership of MBW has now opened up to individual women as well as corporate member, making it even more accessible to those wanting to take advantage of their career development tools, education and guidance, and now their mentor programme.