A letter from EFRA chair Robert Goodwill to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs secretary of state Dr Thérèse Coffey urged the Government to restore the pre-pandemic status quo of UK pork exporters’ access to China.
During the pandemic, many abattoirs voluntarily surrendered their licences to export to China when their sites were hit by an outbreak of COVID-19. However, despite fulfilling the requirements of the Chinese customs authority – the General Administration Customs China (GACC) – to re-instate the licences, they remain unable to access the Chinese market.
Goodwill called on the secretary of state to lead a rapid cross-government solution to the issue, including by engaging with the GACC.
“Given the challenges facing the pig sector – as highlighted by Defra and the Devolved Administrations’ ongoing UK-wide review of pig supply chain – and the risk that Chinese businesses seek contracts with exporters from elsewhere, the Committee calls on Defra to lead a rapid resolution by the UK Government to this issue,” he added.
“The Committee requests that you set out the steps the Government plans to take in this regard. I would be grateful if you could reply by 8 May.”
Calls for action
The letter also pressed the secretary of state for more details on the Prime Minister’s Food Security Summit, which was expected to occur during the current quarter, the progress of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) bill and the steps it was taking to tackle sea life mortality off the northeast coast if England.
Goodwill’s letter to the Secretary of State can be found in full here.
Meanwhile, an investigation was launched at the end of last month into industrial-scale country of origin fraud in the pork supply chain, with claims of rotten meat being supplied to care homes and hospitals.