The egg industry is facing increased costs and logistical problems due to new rules for exporters now Britain has left the EU.
Some products, such as liquid egg melange, which is usually exported to the EU for use in processing or manufacture, have been particularly badly hit. Unlike deliveries of other animal products, which now require Export Health Certificates and have experienced delays, lorry-loads of melange have been simply refused at the border with the EU. “I am not aware of any loads getting out of the UK,” said Mark Williams, chief executive of the British Egg Industry Council, who said he was liaising with Defra to try and find out answers and possible solutions.
Pullet hatcheries based in England have also experienced significant problems since the end of the transition period. Day old chicks are usually shipped to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where there are no pullet hatcheries, but EU rules now require chicks to be transported in “disposable packaging” rather than the plastic crates they would previously have been transported in. This means hatcheries are having to buy either cardboard boxes or single use plastic crates, adding cost and complexity to their operations. “It is added cost and lots of extra packaging, it is just madness,” said Williams.
“The moment we stepped out of the EU and the single market and the customs union, we are now subject to the full force of fortress Europe,” Williams said.
Williams said the BEIC would lobby to relax the rules to be able to use reusable plastic for pullet chicks, but said this would have to now be done via EU colleagues.