A total of 29 bodies have written a joint letter to Defra Secretary of State George Eustice expressing concern over the lack of preparedness of the government agencies that should play a key role in supporting England and Wales-based food exporters.
The group has asked the Secretary of State to take three actions as a matter of urgency:
- Instruct, and financially support, all official veterinarians (OVs) employed (directly or indirectly) by the Food Standards Agency or other government agencies to play a direct role in supporting the export certification process for products of animal origin.
- Use the authority of APHA to significantly simplify the guidance on how OVs at the last point of departure before export can rely on existing controls as the basis for having confidence to certify the products for export.
- Revise the rules on what inspection and verification must be done by an OV, and what can be done by an appropriately trained and supervised Certification Support Officer.
In the letter, the group said:
“We believe these three actions, alongside the successful conclusion of a zero-tariff trade agreement, are vital if UK Government is to avert a crisis for our meat, dairy and other POAO exporters. We are already at a very late stage and these businesses are suffering.”
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