The widely seen footage of overzealous Dutch inspection officials confiscating ham sandwiches transported by British hauliers was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the UK pig sector is concerned
Brexit border delays have brought the UK pork sector to a standstill, with warnings knock on effects could be felt on farms.
UK pork processors were experiencing significant issues in exporting pig meat, bringing part of the industry to a complete standstill.
The widely seen footage of overzealous Dutch inspection officials confiscating ham sandwiches transported by British hauliers was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the UK pig sector is concerned.
The National Pig Association (NPA) said its processor members have reported the excessive bureaucracy of new paperwork requirements were causing delays at ports. And with pork being a perishable product, the delays were making shipments unattractive to buyers in the EU.
And NPA highlighted the full impact of the new rules was yet to be felt, with UK export volumes were 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.
“This is partly an inevitable consequence of Brexit – we always knew it would mean more red tape, checks and delays. But there is a political element, too.
“Why are 30 per cent of all UK consignments to the EU are being checked? This is far more than many other Third Country exporters to the EU - for New Zealand, for example, the figure is 1 per cent.”
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.
“It is clear that the 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,” she added.
“The Government needs to accept we have a situation here that needs to be resolved, and quickly.”