BMPA updates, as they happen, on developing issues in the meat industry.
Contains links to member only content.
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Further webinars have been added providing guidance on using IPAFFS (Import of products, animals, food and feed system) to pre-notify about imports of live animals, products of animal origin (POAO) and high risk food and feed not of animal origin (HRFNAO) into Great Britain from 1 April 2021.
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While the Government has refused to prioritise food workers for vaccinations, they have said that, if businesses enrol before the end of March, mass testing will be free until the end of June.
To complement the measures already being taken, it’s worth looking at the results of a US study into covid transmission among meat factory workers and the effectiveness of risk mitigation measures.
Customs broker Unsworth and RMB, a specialist in international cross-border formalities are holding a webinar on how companies can use the 4200 Customs Regime to sell goods Delivery Duties Paid (DDP) into Europe and avoid the use of T1s to minimise border delays.
The regime allows foreign companies to import to France without paying any import VAT as the goods will be immediately shipped to another EU country. The goods can then be customs cleared at the border and delivered in the EU in free circulation just as before. This means no VAT to be paid at time of importation and no VAT registration required in France. The webinar is on Monday 8 March at 2pm.
Starting on Monday 1 March, AHDB will be hosting a series of daily webinars as part of ‘Carbon Week’ aimed at delivering a ‘carbon 101’ to farmers and growers interested in understanding more about the carbon cycle, carbon auditing and reducing emissions. Expert speakers will explore ways to cut costs and take the first step to more sustainable farming and achieving Net Zero.
Food Waste Action Week starts on Monday 1 March. WRAP and its partners (who include several BMPA members) will be highlighting the fact that around a third of the food we produce worldwide is wasted and it’s having a significant impact on climate change. In fact, it contributes a staggering 8–10% of total man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
BMPA has received some very useful feedback from members on just what has been happening on the ground with exports to the EU. Following our written submission, Nick Allen, CEO of BMPA will be giving oral evidence to the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee next Tuesday afternoon at 3:30pm along with representatives from the National Pig Association and National Sheep Association.
He’ll be armed with a lot of persuasive evidence and we’d encourage members to tune in or watch the recording.
Two months on from our EU exit and the realities of what the trade deal with the EU does and doesn’t do are becoming clear. Peter Hardwick, BMPA’s Trade Policy Advisor, takes a closer look at what’s not working and what must happen to make the new system fit for purpose. He concludes: “this will be no quick fix and it is going to take both sides to see the folly of this massive, unnecessary bureaucratic nightmare before things will change”.
We’ve updated the Rules of Origin portal page to include the latest guidance and information resources from Defra and HMRC. The Defra material includes industry and product specific rules and examples. And, an HMRC slide deck includes details of the interaction between Rules of Origin (requirements for claiming preferential tariffs) and wider customs procedures, such as RGR (Returned Goods Relief), rules for transit, and inward/outward processing relief.
There’s a link to a recorded webinar and FAQ document answering questions from previous sessions with industry and we also have a new document covering the tariff implications for the movement of Goods from GB to NI and the interaction between RoO and ‘at risk’ register.
The Government has put out a call to companies to run projects to improve progression into the labour market for young people aged 16 to 24 who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through innovative and vocationally based skills activity leading to employment, including apprenticeships and traineeships, or further training and education opportunities.
Firms wishing to apply for funding must have their applications in by 10 March 2021.
From 11.00pm 21 February, hauliers do not need to test negative for coronavirus if they are returning to France after spending less than 48 hours in the UK. Different rules apply for other countries and the testing sites for drivers up and down the country have also had some changes.
APHA have published four new slaughterhouse veterinary SHAs for the movement within Great Britain of domestic ovine, caprine, bovine, swine and poultry meat intended for export to the EU.
On 3 March an expert panel of people who have first hand experience of the issues surrounding Brexit will discuss what are short term teething problems and what are fundamental barriers to trade. They’ll also be looking beyond Brexit at the opportunities ahead for the UK food sector and how the industry can add value through accessing new markets around the globe.
AHDB’s Meat Education Programme is proving to be a major boon to meat companies who are struggling to fill vacancies and retain staff. The free programme offers the chance for butchers and meat workers to advance and hone their skills through practical and theoretical butchery training for beef, lamb and pork,
Companies that have introduced the Programme have seen an improvement in recruitment and staff retention, by presenting staff with opportunities to better themselves through education and also see a clear career path in the meat industry. We would recommend any meat company that hasn’t investigated this already to contact AHDB and find out how it could benefit their business.
More dates have been released for webinars for both UK importers and EU exporters of products of animal origin. All have subtitles in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Polish and they start on 18 February and run until 29 March.
A webinar to be held on Monday 8 March between 9:00 and 13:00 will take stock of the first two months of trading under the new Brexit conditions and provide advice on specific do’s and don’ts for European companies who use the Short Straits transport infrastructure. There will also be a Q&A session.
Defra will be issuing new Support Health Attestations (SHAs) for use from 22nd February, in line with the certification for Prohibited and Restricted goods to Northern Ireland. BMPA has urged FSA to give wider and clearer communication to their OVs and contractors to prepare them for the changes. We are also still seeking clarity on the commitments FSA made about signing SHAs, including the agreement to sign SHAs for animal by-products.
There will also be new EU EHCs from 21st April. APHA will, over the course of the next 2 months, be redrafting the EHCs in line with these changes.
Defra are currently running an industry consultation: Improvements to animal welfare in transport, with a deadline for responses of 25th February.
BMPA will be responding but we’d urge individual businesses to have their say, particularly on the questions asking you to quantify the impact of the proposed changes. We have created a set of notes as a general guide to help members formulate their own responses.
The British meat industry is facing an exodus of our EU staff who will leave behind a big gap in the productive capacity of the meat processing industry. It’s already started, with firms reporting an almost permanent 10-15% shortfall in staff right now. And Government has just made it doubly difficult to plug that gap by refusing to put ‘Butchers’ on the Shortage Occupation List and failing ot include any food and drink courses on the list of Level 3 adult courses eligible for the £95 m Lifetime Skills Guarantee. This puts up a barrier to re-training newly unemployed British workers.
The FDF has established a partnership with Reed Talent Solutions to support food and drink manufacturing businesses to access staff to manage and run Asymptomatic Testing Sites.
Reed can support businesses to attract, interview and train candidates from Team Leaders to Site and Testing Operatives.
As members of the FDF Trade Association Roundtable, BMPA can invite its members to access an exclusive reduced rate of 20% (standard margin is charged at 35%).
FDF is jointly hosting a webinar on workforce testing with Defra on Monday 15 February at 15:00 to provide an opportunity to hear from government and industry on how to access and implement workforce testing effectively. Anyone interested in attending should contact Griffin Shiel at FDF on 020 7836 2460.
PHE have created a comprehensive set of printable creative resources to help communicate the new testing activity in parts of the country. There are specific materials for the South African Variant Surge Testing, Variant Surge Testing and Community Testing – including one specifically for factory workers.
We’ve uploaded a new Q&A document to accompany the recording of the recent webinar ‘Exporting goods from GB to the EU via the Short Straits’ .
The European Commission is seeking feedback to support a review of the EU’s food and farm products promotion policy, which is being undertaken with a view to enhancing its contribution to sustainable production and consumption; and to align it with the shift to a more plant-based diet, with less red and processed meat and more fruit and vegetables. The deadline for feedback is 9 March 2021. The EC will consult formally on its proposals in the spring.
Talk radio host Ian Collins in a recent interview with Peter Hardwick remarked on the irony of watching astronauts in Elon Musk’s space shuttle “waving at the camera as they head off to the moon” while down here on earth “we can’t get a pork chop to Paris. Really?!”
As many meat companies will attest, he’s not wrong, and BMPA has been explaining the issues in TV, radio and print media interviews.
A new page of guidance on sending grouped agrifood products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland has been published on gov.uk. It includes information about how to prepare consignments for checking at the border and what certification and pre-notification are required.
Last week, BMPA members heard a presentation from customs broker Unsworth along with one from RMB, a specialist in international cross-border formalities who’s slogan is “Conquer Europe – We’ll handle the paperwork”. Their CEO, Michel Boulanger explained how they can help companies use the 4200 Customs Regime to sell goods Delivery Duties Paid (DDP) into Europe and avoid border delays.
The regime allows foreign companies to import to France without paying any import VAT as the goods will be immediately shipped to another EU country. The goods can then be customs cleared at the border and delivered in the EU in free circulation just as before. This means no VAT to be paid at time of importation and no VAT registration required in France. Any members who missed the presentation are encouraged to view in the Portal.
Defra has announced that: “Due to the high prevalence of coronavirus infections in England, confirmatory testing will be temporarily removed for Lateral Flow Tests taken at workplace test sites until prevalence lowers again.” However, if you get a positive Lateral Flow Test (LFT) result you are still legally obliged to self isolate following the latest Government guidance.
We’ve uploaded a Q&A document which includes some information on receiving a test result, and isolation payment eligibility. It also covers testing after an isolation period has endedwith the main point being that: “Anyone who has previously received a positive COVID-19 PCR test result should not be re-tested within 90 days of that test, unless they develop any new symptoms of COVID-19.”
The Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has launched an “urgent” inquiry into the UK-EU border delays affecting UK meat and fish exports and has asked George Eustice for more detailed information about Defra’s £23m compensation fund along with estimates of the cost to date to UK food businesses of delays.
The inquiry will explore immediate and long term action plans for exports to the EU, whilst also scrutinising the Government’s immediate response to disruptions over the past month. The Committee is also asking questions of the UK’s preparedness for checking food imports from the EU later this year and what lessons have been learnt from the last month.
Defra Minister, Victoria Prentis, has set out the current position with regard to UK Government consultations on food labelling. Interestingly she said that the post-Brexit review of food labelling would “include careful consideration of how food labelling might contribute to the outcomes of the National Food Strategy, which is looking in detail at creating a better food system for people and for the environment.”
This comes as Boris Johnson asks all departments to produce a “price” for carbon emissions across all areas of the economy. What should be ensured is that the right metrics are used to measure the carbon footprint of food.
Michael Gove has written formally to the EU seeking urgent action to resolve practical problems experienced with regard to some exports from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. His letter emphasises the need for “political, not technical, solutions” and proposes extending some of the “grace periods” in the NI Protocol prior to the introduction of stricter controls to be extended until 2023.
Separately, independent MP Jonathan Edwards tabled an Early Day Motion which called for mutual equivalence and harmonisation protocols for EU and UK food product standards in order to resolve the problems that have arisen concerning UK food exports to the EU and food supplies between GB and NI. The EDM notes that the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement allows for continued trade related discussions; and calls on the UK Government to enter into negotiations on these issues.
The European Commission has asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to provide scientific advice to support the development of a future EU-wide system for front-of-pack nutrition labelling. It will also inform the setting of conditions for using nutrition and health claims on foods. EFSA is required to deliver its scientific opinion by March 2022. We will consult publicly on the draft by the end of 2021.
APHA has just released (3 February) an amended version of their briefing note 02/21 Guidance updates for certification of ABP and POAO exports to the EU and movement to NI for Official Veterinarians.
On 10 February at 10:30am, Defra will hold the first in a series of one hour webinars covering importing products of animal origin from GB to EU. The series will run throughout February and March, and will cover the changes happening to import controls for POAO and actions you must take to continue importing from 1 April.
The full list of webinars, and details on how to register, can be found on the Portal here.
We have received an email from Defra advising us of changes to the testing and isolating process in light of the fact that the prevalence of infections is now above 1% of the population and likely to remain that high for at least the next 2 months.
So, as of 27 January 2021 in England a positive Lateral Flow test result will now trigger the legal duty to self-isolate and for contact tracing to begin, and the need for a confirmatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test has been temporarily removed until the prevalence rate lowers. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will continue to use confirmatory PCR testing. Defra also advised that confirmatory PCR testing will continue for hauliers (this is a condition of the agreement with France).
Following a request from BMPA, DEFRA has provided an important update and clarification to the guidance on the use of a single Export Health Certificate for multiple destinations It clarifies that the EHC does not need to state the destination as the Border Control Post as this is not possible but only Part 1 of the initial CHED needs to declare the BCP as the place of destination.
We strongly advise that you check with your importers/agents what the wider implications of this approach are and have uploaded some useful guidance notes onto the Members’s Portal to assist you.