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A report from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee report raised serious concerns for exporters of time-sensitive fresh and live seafood and meat shipments to the EU, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses.

It highlighted concerns that the new barriers these businesses are now facing could leave them unviable, and factories and that some companies and their employees could therefore relocate to the EU.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has welcomed the report, which reflected its concerns for the future of trade between the UK and EU.

In a previous call for evidence, the CIEH raised the need to simplify and speed up the administrative process through digitalisation – issues that had been addressed in the report.

Lack of import checks

The CIEH also warned of the danger posed by a lack of import checks for food coming into the UK, a concern that was also shared by the EFRA committee.

In particular, the report pointed out that controls on EU seafood and meat imports would not begin until 12 October 2021, with border checks not starting until 1 January 2022. This could lead to sub-standard food entering the UK and put local businesses at a disadvantage, the CIEH argued.

Last month, Arne Mielken, founder of customs and training consultancy Customs Manager outlined the latest wave of EU import controls and how to navigate these strict new controls​ on this site.

Gary McFarlane, CIEH Northern Ireland director, said the EFRA report was an important step in highlighting the difficulties UK businesses who export food to the EU faced and the public health dangers inherent in the current set up.

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