Brexit border delays have brought the UK pork sector to a standstill, with warnings knock-on effects could be felt on farms.
The National Pig Association (NPA) said its processor members had reported excessive bureaucracy of new paperwork requirements was causing delays at ports.
And with pork a perishable product, the delays were making shipments unattractive to buyers in the EU.
The NPA highlighted the full impact of the new rules was yet to be felt, with UK export volumes lower than normal at this time of year.
Problems included a more stringent approach to assessing paperwork causing delays, not having enough veterinary capacity and additional paperwork taking hours to prepare.
NPA chief executive Dr Zoe Davies said there was a ’bureaucracy overload’ and while some was an inevitable consequence of Brexit, there was also a political element with far more UK consignments being checked than other third country exporters to the EU.
Dr Davies was concerned the situation would only get worse as export volumes increased in the coming weeks.
And it came on top of a sector already under pressure from processing plants hit by Covid-19 outbreaks.
Dr Davies also highlighted the same rules were not yet being applied to imports as the UK was phasing in checks, placing UK producers at a huge disadvantage.
She added: “It is clear the European Commission wishes to make Brexit as painful and as messy as possible to prevent any other country from following suit, so we have very little hope of improving things.
“The Government needs to accept we have a situation here that needs to be resolved, and quickly.”