Member of Parliament for South Down, and member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Margaret Ritchie has urgently sought clarity on meat products export deals following the EU referendum.
Ms Ritchie said: “There is a certain degree of uncertainty facing meat traders following the decision to leave the European Union in early June. At present certain non EU countries recognise the EU oval health mark which identifies the processing establishment and hygiene status of a product. Following Brexit, will countries now request an inspection of UK plants?
“UK slaughter houses and plants are at an advanced state for handling exports to China and the USA. There is a question mark over whether these businesses will have to go through a re-approval process. There is also uncertainty over the export health certificates and which will need to be re-negotiated.
“It is crucial the UK is allowed to continue with access to the EU Free Trade Agreement to allow exports to South Africa and South Korea to continue. I have made robust representations to Minister Eustice and Minister McIlveen to seek clarity and reassurance on these matters. Moving forward, there needs to be a joint approach between DEFRA and the DAERA in Northern Ireland to ensure there is no detriment to the export, trade and farming industry further to the decision to leave the European Union.”