Meat industry issues Brexit warnings

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

Warnings have been issued to Government over a lack of clarity surrounding Brexit
Warnings have been issued to Government over a lack of clarity surrounding Brexit
The British Poultry Council (BPC) has called on the Government to ensure that the population continues to have access to quality food once the UK leaves the EU.

The BPC offered to work with the Government to help develop a “robust transition plan”​ that gives the industry access to the workers it needs and maintain the supply chain.

Chief executive Richard Griffiths said: There is nothing more important that ensuring our citizens have continued access to affordable and quality British food. Despite great uncertainty over Brexit, we need the Government to deliver a food strategy that ensures British families and communities are well-fed.

“Continuity of British food production and supply will be critical to ensuring that British food, and the quality it represents, stays affordable and available for all. A dignified food system means that everyone has access to the same choice of safe, wholesome, and nutritious produce; yet Brexit threatens to create a two-tier food system based on affluence.”

The BPC set out three main goals for a post-Brexit UK, these are: ensuring British poultry meat businesses have access to non-UK labour, and support development of skills; facilitating easy movement of poultry products, in order to maintain a secure supply of safe, nutritious and affordable British food and maintaining British food production standards as an integral part of the food system and protect them from dilution in trade deals.

Meanwhile, the National Sheep Association has reminded MPs that its members are producing lambs with no trade relationships secured.

Chief executive Phil Stocker said: “What we all feared but hoped wouldn’t happen is becoming a real possibility. While there may be no shortage of people in the UK that seem prepared to crash out and just get the job done, all evidence suggests that for the sake of the UKs sheep industry something needs to give quickly to prevent our industry having a devastating shake-up. We have been repeatedly warning of the risks of a no deal Brexit and it now seems more likely than ever that our concerns may be realised.”

Stocker said that unless there was another MP vote on a Brexit deal, “we’re facing the disturbing reality that sometime very soon we face a disorderly exit causing huge turmoil for the sheep industry”.

“Beyond the uncertainty of what we are expecting now, farmers are bracing for what could potentially be one of the most turbulent years in our trading history. We still don’t know that we have third country status assured with the EU when we leave and we still don’t have an Agriculture Bill in place. About all we do know is that the sun will come up in the morning and go down again at night while our industry is being told it should plan more effectively for the future.”

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