The National Sheep Association (NSA) has hit out at Defra for failing to include sheepmeat in a list of products which will be protected by marketing standards after Brexit.
Under the terms of the Agriculture Bill, dairy products, beef, veal, poultry meat and eggs are to be covered by marketing standards which ensure they must be of ‘acceptable quality’ and accurately labelled.
The list of products given protection in the Bill has been lifted from EU legislation which developed over time and did not include sheepmeat.
But Phil Stocker, chief executive of the NSA, told Farmers Guardian he felt it was important for sheepmeat to be included in the list to ensure accurate labelling and product presentation.
“The Agriculture Bill is supposed to be the first chapter in a framework which is fit for purpose here in the UK – not a mirror of EU regulations or standards,” he said.
“With all the talk of our future being one of quality and high standards, why on earth would we want to leave sheepmeat out of this schedule?”
A Defra spokesman said there was scope for other products to be added to the list and the department would welcome representations from all parts of the industry on other items which should be covered.
Mr Stocker, who had already written to former Defra Minister George Eustice about sheepmeat’s exclusion from the list, said he would be taking up this offer.
“We need to understand any positive or negative consequences and its disappointing that our agreement was simply assumed,” he added.